NRL Pre-Season - Storm v Roosters
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 12: Sualauvi Faalogo of the Storm runs with the ball during the NRL Trial match between Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters at GMHBA Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm have been a picture of consistency in the NRL for as long as Craig Bellamy has been at the helm.

Through various periods of transformation, plenty of calls that they were about to sink and a host of other issues, the last time Melbourne missed the finals for non salary cap related reasons was 2002 - also the last time Bellamy wasn't the coach of the men in purple.

So much have we come to expect of the Storm that 2024 saw the club widely regarded to be well short of their best, despite the fact they made a preliminary final.

There were certainly some big question marks throughout the course of last season, mostly around their forwards and leadership, but certainly issues in the spine weren't completely non-existent.

Some of those same questions lay in front of the Melbourne-based club heading into 2024.

Here are the five big ones.

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1. Who plays fullback?

It goes without saying that this is the biggest question in the way of the Storm heading into the 2024 campaign.

Ryan Papenhuyzen was set to be the number one again in 2023, but a knee injury he sustained at the back-end of 2022 continually saw his return date pushed further and further into the season.

From initial reports suggesting Melbourne were confident of a Round 1 return, it quickly became a couple of months into the season, then the second half of the year.

In the end, he returned just a few weeks from the end of the year, set to play a bench role for the Storm before suffering a horrid-looking ankle injury in Round 27 that ended any chance of him featuring during the knockout stages of the competition.

In Papenhuyzen's place, Nick Meaney did a stellar job in the number one jumper for much of the year.

And yet, Meaney may well be the number three option to play at fullback heading into 2024 thanks to the likely breakout of Sua Fa'alogo.

The young gun may be limited to a bench role to start with - it's exceedingly difficult to see a fully fit Papenhuyzen not taking the number one jumper.

But don't be shocked if things show signs of changing at some point this season.

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