SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Cooper Cronk of the Storm walks off the field with team mates Billy Slater and Cameron Smith after winning the 2017 NRL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

We’re counting down every club’s best 17 in the NRL era.

Up next is the Storm, here is their best line-up over that period:

  1. Billy Slater 2003-18, 319 games, 190 tries

The Melbourne Storm team is arguably the hardest to pick considering their success over the last 22 years; however, Billy Slater picks himself here. Not just Melbourne’s best ever No.1 but perhaps the best fullback the game has ever seen. Accolades include being second in all-time try-scoring with 190, just 22 behind Ken Irvine; two premiership rings (two stripped), two Clive Churchill Medals, one Dally M Medal, 30 Tests for Australia and 31 Origins for Queensland.

  1. Suliasi Vunivalu 2016-current, 91 games, 70 tries

The Storm, like in most positions, has had a plethora of unbelievable outside backs. Fijian international Vunivalu emerged in 2016 and scored 23 tries in just 21 games. To prove it was no fluke, the lanky winger scored another 23 in 2017 to have 46 tries in his first 47 NRL games as his side stormed to premiership glory. Vunivalu has scored a further 24 tries in the past two seasons combined.

  1. Will Chambers 2007-09, 2012-current, 211 games, 81 tries

Chambers debuted in 2007 but it wasn’t until 2009 when he made a name for himself, playing in all 27 games and scoring 12 tries in a premiership winning season. Chambers had a brief stint in rugby before returning to the Storm in 2012 and taking out the premiership to keep this time around. Over the next four seasons, Chambers racked up double digits in tries and became a rep player on both fronts.

  1. Greg Inglis 2005-10, 117 games, 78 tries

Inglis was like no other when he burst into the spotlight in 2005 as a powerful, tall back with a killer fend. While he was an exceptional player at Souths in the second half of his career, Inglis’ biggest personal accomplishments were achieved when he was with the Storm. At just the age of 21, Inglis had won the Clive Churchill Medal for an unstoppable performance in the 2007 Grand Final, the Dally M Five-Eighth of the year, despite being a natural centre, and the Dally M rep player of the year.

  1. Josh Addo-Carr 2017-current, 72 games, 55 tries

PNG legend Marcus Bai is extremely unlucky to miss this list but the atomic rise of Josh Addo-Carr as Tigers winger in 2016 to instant hit and premiership winner in 2017 and Origin winger in 2018 is not to be ignored. Addo-Carr became the second half of the most damaging wing partnership since Tuqiri/Sailor. Addo-Carr scored 23 in 2017, levelled with Vunivalu, which included two tries in the 2017 GF win over the Cowboys. Scored 18 in 2018 and 14 so far in 2019.

  1. Cameron Munster 2014-current, 110 games, 23 tries

Munster’s consistent brilliance and his rise in value has seen him claim the No.6 jersey in this side over Scott Hill with both having one premiership to their name. Munster initially started as a fullback filling in for Slater in his injury-riddled 2015 and 2016 seasons before shifting to the five-eighth role in 2017 where he helped his side win the comp. He played 14 games as the pivot in 2017, losing just one of those. Brings a great deal of flair and finesse to the team whenever he’s in it.

  1. Cooper Cronk 2004-17, 323 games, 92 tries

Cronk spent his early years at Melbourne as the understudy to Matt Orford but his departure at the end of 2005 opened the door for Cooper. Cronk nailed down a starting halfback role, playing all 27 games in 2006, and he never looked back. Cronk played in seven Grand Finals for the club, keeping two premierships to his name. Cronk also won one Clive Churchill Medal, two Dally M Medals and was a five-time halfback of the year. Moved to Roosters in 2018 but his Melbourne legacy will remain.

  1. Jesse Bromwich 2010-current, 225 games, 28 tries

The club’s best forward of the 2010s without a doubt; Bromwich is coming to the end of a full decade with the Storm. He got his debut in 2010 but emerged as a starting front-rower the following year. He is a valued senior member of the New Zealand national team who he’s represented 29 times. Bromwich’s best season to date was 2016 where his good form earnt him the Dally M prop of the year gong as the Storm fell short in the Grand Final. Premiership winner in 2012 and 2017.

  1. Cameron Smith 2002-current, 407 games, 45 tries

Captain. Leader. Legend. There are endless superlatives to describe Cameron Smith who is in his 18th season of first grade and still doesn’t miss a beat. Becoming the first player in NRL history to reach 400 games says a great deal about the character and attitude of Smith, who has only ever played below 23 games in a season on two occasions (his debut season and in 2010. Cam is the highest point-scorer in NRL history as well, with over 2600 points. Smith played over 50 times for his country and over 40 times for his state and has a long list of plaudits, including Dally M Hooker of the year (seven times), Dally M captain of the year (four times), Dally M rep player of the year (four times) and Dally M Medal twice.

  1. Robbie Kearns 1998-05, 169 games, 18 tries

Kearns was an inaugural Storm player in Round 1, 1998 and he went on to spend eight seasons at the club, eventually becoming their captain. At the Storm, Kearns became an inspirational leader in the pack and was unfortunate to miss out on their first Grand Final triumph in 1999. Kearns became a recognised rep player for his performances at Melbourne, having only prior represented his state and country in the Super League.

  1. Stephen Kearney 1999-2004, 139 games, 20 tries

Kearney was another hugely influential figure for the Storm in his time with the club which yielded immediate success in 1999. Kearney was tough, hard-working and an intimidating physical presence. The Kiwi international became club captain in 2003 because of his powerful leadership and captained his side to consecutive semi-final appearances before playing out his final playing year in England.

  1. Ryan Hoffman 2003-10, 2012-14, 2018, 265 games, 61 tries

The Hoff enjoyed three separate stints with the Storm, each bringing success of some kind. Hoffman was a loyal servant to the Storm, forced out in 2010 due to salary cap pressure and left in 2015 when the Warriors came calling. Hoffman was a brilliant ball-runner who could seamlessly run into a perfect hole time after time on his left hand side. He loved a Grand final try too, scoring almost identical four-pointers in the 2009 and 2012 Grand Finals.

  1. Dallas Johnson 2003-09, 157 games, 12 tries

Dallas Johnson was a one-time Australian rep and played for Queensland 12 times however he can still be considered one of the most unheralded Melbourne players of all time. Johnson summed up the character and mentality of Melbourne as a club in his time there, with an incredible work ethic and mammoth tackling efforts week after week. Johnson was a true workhorse for the Storm.

  1. Brett Kimmorley 1998-00, 79 games, 27 tries

Perhaps easily forgotten as a Storm player as a result of Cooper Cronk’s subsequent success in the Melbourne No.7 jumper, however, Kimmorley was a sensational halfback in his three years with the Storm. Kimmorley became a first-grade halfback at Melbourne and announced himself to the league and the representative stage as a result. He missed just three games in 2000 after playing every game of ’98 and 1999 where his role in the decider won him the Clive Churchill Medal.

  1. Glenn Lazarus 1998-99, 44 games, 2 tries

Lazarus was the perfect signing for Melbourne when he joined to get the new club rolling in 1998. Lazarus tasted premiership success four times and was a model of success desired at any team. He achieved victory a fifth time in 1999 when the Storm triumphed in dramatic fashion for Lazarus’ perfect farewell. His form was so vital to his team in 1998-99 that he was recalled to both the NSW and Australian sides.

  1. Tawera Nikau 1998-99, 53 games, 8 tries

Nikau spent just two seasons at the club like Lazarus, but oh how influential they were. Nikau was a real enforcer for the Storm, with brutal tackles opposition players didn’t want to be on the end of and an almost unstoppable running style. He cut an imposing figure on the field and he played a huge role in swinging the game around in the 1999 Grand Final. He was a player of consistency and only missed two games across his two seasons with Melbourne.

  1. Matt Geyer 1998-08, 262 games, 113 tries

A talented and versatile utility, Geyer arrived at the Storm after a solitary season in the Super League. It was 1999 where he endured a breakout season playing predominantly on the wing and scoring 20 tries and 81 goals for 242 points which ultimately earned him his NSW Origin debut. Geyer notched up over a century of tries for the Storm across 11 years and his ability to slot in anywhere along the backline was truly valued.

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  1. Ado-Carr might get replaced by Folua after he dropped the 2019 premiership with that lost ball leading to the Raiders match winning try.

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