2018 NRL season preview: Melbourne Storm

After dominating the 2017 NRL season, only losing four games, the Melbourne Storm will be looking to become the first club in an unified competition in 25 years to go back-to-back. However, after losing Cooper Cronk to the Sydney Roosters, will Brodie Croft be able to fill the large shoes of Cronk? Or, will the Storm struggle by their own standards in 2018?

Roster

Billy Slater
Billy Walters
Brodie Croft
Cameron Munster
Cheyse Blair
Curtis Scott
Jahrome Hughes
Josh Addo-Carr
Justin Olam
Ryan Papenhuyzen
Ryley Jacks
Sandor Earl
Scott Drinkwater
Suliasi Vunivalu
Will Chambers
Young Tonumaipea
Cooper Johns
Brandon Smith
Cameron Smith
Christian Welch
Dale Finucane
Felise Kaufusi
Harry Grant
Jesse Bromwich
Joe Stimson
Kenneath Bromwich
Lachlan Timm
Louis Geraghty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Patrick Kaufusi
Ryan Hoffman
Sam Kasiano
Tim Glasby
Tui Kamikamica
Tino Faasuamaleaui
Kayleb Milne
Junior Ratuva

Coach

Craig Bellamy

 

2018 Starting 17 Line-Up (Predicted)

1. Billy Slater
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
3. Will Chambers
4. Curtis Scott
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Cameron Munster
7. Brodie Croft
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith
10. Tim Glasby
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Ryan Hoffman
13. Dale Finucane
14. Kenneath Bromwich
15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
16. Christian Welch
17. Patrick Kaufusi

Reserves

Outside Backs
Cheyse Blair
Justin Olam
Sandor Earl
Young Tonumaipea
Junior Ratuva

Spine
Billy Walters
Jahrome Hughes
Ryan Papenhuyzen
Ryley Jacks
Scott Drinkwater
Cooper Johns
Brandon Smith
Harry Grant

Power Forwards
Lachlan Timm
Sam Kasiano
Tui Kamikamica
Kayleb Milne

Small Forwards
Joe Stimson
Louis Geraghty
Tino Faasuamaleaui

 

Ryan Eckford’s prediction (2nd)

Despite losing Cooper Cronk (Sydney Roosters), as well as Jordan McLean (North Queensland Cowboys), Tohu Harris (NZ Warriors), and Slade Griffin (Newcastle Knights), you sense that the Melbourne Storm haven’t lost a beat, and have a genuine chance to become the first team in an unified competition since the Brisbane Broncos in 1992-1993 to go back-to-back.

Based on genuine playing merit, the Storm have not missed the finals for the past 15 years, which is ever since Craig Bellamy became the coach of the Storm. They have only missed the finals in 2010 due to being penalised for systematic salary cap breaches from between 2006 and 2010.

Overall, the Storm have made the finals for the last seven years, which is the equal-longest active streak (Cowboys) in the NRL, and I doubt this will change any time soon, especially with captain Cameron Smith, and fullback Billy Slater still very much at the top of their games!

And, I cannot see this team missing the finals with captain Cameron Smith still at the very top of his game, Billy Slater at the top of his game, and a high quality support cast around them!

After smashing the Leed Rhinos (38-4) in the World Club Challenge, the Storm have shown that they should be right at the top when the whips are cracking at the end of the season.

 

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