With under a week to go until the NRL kicks off, we lay down an extended preview for each club. Below is a look at the Storm.
2019 was supposed to be the year that the Storm fell away. As was 2018. As was 2017, and so on and so fourth. Fair to say it was not meant to be.
The Storm ended up as a runaway Minor Premiers and over the regular season were unquestionably the best team in the competition.
They ultimately fell short of yet another Grand Final appearance after close loses to the Raiders and the Roosters, but they could very easily have featured again in the decider.
Predicted Best Player: Cameron Munster
Munster is now the main man in the purple. While Cameron Smith is there his name will always be the first that comes to mind, but this is the Munster show now.
The first player picked for club, state and country, Munster has emerged as the complete footballer. It’s scary to think that he is still only 25 year’s of age.
His kicking game has gone from serviceable to an outright weapon over the past two seasons, closing perhaps the only weakness in his game up until that point.
The Storm have had a few personnel changes in the centres but otherwise look very similar to the team Munster took to a Minor Premiership 12 months ago. He’ll be right in the Dally M medal hunt.
Predicted Top Scorer: Josh Addo-Carr
Straight off the bat I have the Fox as the favourite to take out the top try scoring award at the end of the season. Forget the distractions of him moving back to Sydney at the end of the year, Addo-Carr is the ultimate professional on field.
The Storm wingers are arguably on par with the Eels pairing as the best in the competition (the Roosters aren’t bad either) although their role is very different.
Addo-Carr is the ultimate weapon out side. Give him space and no one can catch him. He’ll score plenty of tries off over trick plays and brilliantly worked overlaps, but he’ll score almost as many from broken field.
Addo-Carr is looking at a rare 20+ try season. He’ll score in bunches and he’ll score often. Almost no-brainer with his only competition coming from his fellow winger in Vunivalu.
Craig Bellamy is the undoubted king of the value recruit. He’s going to have to be this season after allowing his two starting centres walk away.
Brenko Lee has shown numerous times that he is capable of something amazing at times but is yet to nail down a starting position regularly. This is his best chance to date.
Ryley Jacks has been brought back to fill a utility role when called upon after a stint at the Titans.
Lee is one to watch. Now in the game’s most consistently brilliant system, there are no excuses. We can prepare to see the best of Lee.
2020 Final Position: 2nd
The Storm have lost some pretty decent cattle in Scott, Stimson and Chambers, yet have retained a large majority of their 2019 squad. Truthfully none of the aforementioned players were automatic selections, so they’ve done remarkably well.
Cameron Munster is, despite what some have said recently, a top five player in the competition. Cam Smith remains in the top few also. That’s a decent pedigree.
The two most dangerous wingers bookend each side of the field. Up front an incredible forward pack are lead by the best number nine of the modern era.
NAS, Finucane, the Bromwich brothers, and Kaufusi form a ridiculously powerful pack.
Then there is the X factor in Ryan Papenhuyzen. The super talented, speedster became the games most exciting youngster almost overnight in 2019.
He made the Storm number one jersey his own and looks set to continue his meteoric rise.
There is a lot to like here and despite the turnover of players, don’t seem to have any obvious weaknesses.
I’m not sure they can match last year’s insane run and retain their minor premiership but they’re set for another top four finish.