Record: 19 wins, 5 losses
Ladder Position: 1st (Grand Finalists)
Player of the Year: Jesse Bromwich
When Billy Slater required season-ending surgery on his troublesome shoulder in the lead up to the second round of the season, it was assumed that the Storm wouldn’t be premiership contenders.
With Cameron Munster shifting to fullback, the Melbourne-based club clinched the minor premiership and nearly won the Provan-Summons trophy in the dying seconds of the Grand Final.
Although Cooper Cronk had a stellar season, which was duly awarded with a Dally M Medal, the Storm didn’t threaten the opposition try line with the regularity that a premiership contender needs to.
During the Grand Final, Cronulla’s simple plan to force Cronk out of the game succeeded with devastating effect. With Blake Green heading to Brookvale in 2017, Bellamy needs to think long and hard about who will partner Cronk in the halves. The Storm has Queensland U20s representative, Bodie Croft, and Candian International, Ryley Jacks, on their books, while there are strong rumours that Benji Marshall could sign with the club during the off-season.
Craig Bellamy’s side are renowned for their defence, but the men in purple took it to the next level in 2016. The Storm conceded a meagre 302 points during the regular season compared to 348 in 2015. The Storm managed to keep three teams scoreless in 2016 (Titans, Roosters, Warriors) and conceded more than 20 points only twice (Raiders and Broncos).
Over the last few seasons, Jesse Bromwich has evolved into an elite prop. This season, he was supported by a quartet of forwards which reached new heights. Dale Finucane, Jordan Mclean, Tohu Harris and Nelson Asofa-Solomona joined the New Zealand captain and Kevin Proctor in a formidable forward pack.
2017 GAINS AND LOSSES
Gains: Josh Addo-Carr – Wests Tigers, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith (North Queensland Cowboys), Ryley Jacks – Sunshine Coast Falcons, Vincent Leuluai – Sydney Roosters (mid-season 2016), Justin Olam – PNG Hunters
Losses: Blake Green – Manly Sea Eagles, Richard Kennar – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Josh Kerr – St George Illawarra Dragons, Marika Koroibete – rugby union, Ryan Morgan – St Helens, Ben Hampton – North Queensland Cowboys, Matt White, Tony Tumusa and Francis Tualau – released
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