Today I continue my series by naming the Melbourne Storm all-time greatest team. In a short amount of time it’s amazing what the Melbourne Storm have accomplished.
Winners of four premierships and the first one in their only second year of existence.
These are the players they have helped Melbourne achieve what they have.
1. Billy Slater
30 caps for Australia, 31 for Queensland, Dally M Medal Winner, Golden Boot Winner, RLW Player of the year, 2x RLIF Player of the year, 2x RLIF Fullback of the year, Fullback of the year, 2x Clive Churchill Medal Winner , 2xWally Lewis Medal Winner.
Billy Slater quite simply is one of the greatest fullbacks ever. His positional play and his communication to his fellow defenders to make the right adjustments was well ahead of anyone else.
He knew how and when to inject himself in attack and used his amazing acceleration to score 190 tries, the second most in NRL history.
He has won nearly every accolade there is rugby league showing why he is one of the greats.
2. Marcus Bai
11 caps for Papua New Guinea, winger of the year
Melbourne’s first cult hero, Bai was a powerful winger who was known for scoring tries by barging over people. He could act another forward due to his size and strength, he couldn’t reach his potential due to an injury-hampered career.
3. Will Chambers
7 cap for Australia, 13 for Queensland
Chambers, with a great mix of length, strength and speed, has blossomed into one of the most difficult players to contain in the game.
He has been underrated for the majority of his career, but Chambers has finally been rewarded with his recent representative appearances.
4. Israel Folau
8 caps for Australia, eight for Queensland, Rookie of the ear, centre of the year and RLIF centre of the year
The triple-code star who achieved so much in a short career in the NRL. At 193cm and over 100 kgs, Folau scored a record 21 tries in his debut year.
Folau had such a rare blend of speed, power and agility for large size which was unmatched. He could either bust through tackles or step defenders.
He had an incredible vertical reach evidenced in his two try performance in. He done all of this at 22, before going to the AFL, and rugby. One could imagine what player he could be if he stayed in the NRL.
5 Suliasi Vunivalu
8 caps for Fiji
Gave the slight edge over Josh Addo-Carr due to his slight better try scoring rate and big game changing-interception in the 2020 grand final.
Towering at 6’4 and a weapon in the air “Suli” continues the great athletes that hail from Fiji, he will be a loss the game .
6. Cameron Munster
Four caps Australia, eight for Queensland , 2x five-eighth of the year
An incredible ball runner who uses a dummy and upper body strength to bust the line which has made him one of the hardest players to tackle.
He is also very good defender for a half. Munster has been able to outshine at times the likes of Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk which is no easy feat.
He can excel also as fullback.
Munster showcases the Storm’s ability to constantly produce talent .
7. Cooper Cronk
38 caps for Australia, 22 for Queensland, Dally M Medal Winner. Clive Churchill Medal Winner, 5x halfback of the year, golden boot winner
Cronk may not be the most talented player but he may be the most hardworking. His dedication to his craft is something everyone should aspire to do. His kicking game is best in the world.
Cronk’s footy IQ is off the charts. His passing game is elite and he knows how to set up teammates. He was the MVP for Queensland – they seemed unbeatable with him and ordinary without him.
8. Robbie Kearns
29 caps for Australia, eight for NSW
Kearns was part of the Storm’s first team as major early signing. Kearns established himself one of the best props in the NRL.
9. Cameron Smith
56 caps for Australia, 42 for Queensland, 2x Daly M Medal Winner, 2xGolden Boot Winner, 3x RLIF Hooker of the year, RLIF Player of the year, 9x hooker of the year and Wally Lewis Medal Winner
Cameron Smith has played most NRL games, scored the most points and played the most Origins.
Smith plays the game like a game of chess and seems to always be one step ahead of his opposition. Smith is a master of controlling the ruck and tempo of the game.
He is sublime at manipulating the.A and B defender. Smith – like a coach on the field – can change tactics on the fly to exploit opposition weakness.
10. Jesse Bromwich
29 caps for New Zealand, prop of the year
Bromwich has cemented himself as a premier prop in the NRL. His footwork and his offload have made him the leader of the Storm pack.
45 caps for NZ
Youngest person to captain New Zealand was a key addition to the 1999 premiership winning side.
Kearney was a good ball player. His leadership was very underrated and later turned to coaching .
12. Ryan Hoffman
6 caps for Australia, 14 for NSW, Brad Fittler Medal Winner.
Hoffman was a great player with the Storm throughout their glory years.
13. Tawera Nikau
19 caps for NZ, Lock of the year.
Nikau was everywhere in defence, had fearless charges and was pivotal in the Storm’s ’99 grand final win.
Nikau was Melbourne’s first enforcer
Scott Hill, Dallas Johnson, David Kidwell and Nelson Asfoa- Solomona
Coach: Craig Bellamy
A very strong team. They are headlined by the “Big 3” of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
With these three you’re always chance with their signature outside-inside pass from Smith to Cronk to Slater.
The Kiwi trio of Bromwich, Nikau and Kearney lead this pack and provide reliable go forward. Outside backs all strong and powerful and kickstart every set of six.
Cronk will have two amazing aerial threats in Folau and Vunivalu it’s hard enough stopping one of them going for the ball let alone both of them at the same time.
This team is filled with quality all over the park – there is no way they will fit under the salary cap.