SuperCoach NRL study guide: Melbourne Storm
The Melbourne Storm were crushed in the 2018 grand final by a dominant Roosters outfit.
The loss of Cooper Cronk was evident with coach Craig Bellamy unable to commit to a stable halves partner for Cameron Munster, cycling through Brodie Croft, Ryley Jacks and Jahrome Hughes to find an answer.
With two of the 'Big Three' now off the team, the Storm may finally start to come back to the pack.
A close look at Storm's players shows they were not a desirable outfit for SuperCoach scoring. Only Cameron Smith (12) and Munster (43) finished in the top 50 players for overall points.
Kenny Bromwich and Christian Welch finished the season with more overall points than Suli Vunivalu, Curtis Scott and Will Chambers.
With the 2019 Storm side predicted to be similar to the 2018 team, be wary of looking at too many boys in purple.
PREDICTED ROUND 1 TEAM
1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Josh Addo-Carr 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Suli Vunivalu 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Joe Stimson 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Kenny Bromwich 16. Albert Vete 17. Christian Welch
Who's left: Patrick Kaufusi, Sam Kasiano, Tino Faasuamaleaui, Tui Kamikamica, Billy Walers, Cheyse Blair, Justin Olam, Marion Seve, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Scott Drinkwater, Tom Eisenhuth
Ins: Tom Eisenhuth (Penrith Panthers), Marion Seve (Brisbane Broncos), Albert Vete (New Zealand Warriors)
Outs: Louis Geraghty (released), Tim Glasby (Newcastle Knights), Ryan Hoffman (retired), Ryley Jacks (Gold Coast Titans), Billy Slater (retired), Lachlan Timm (St George Illawarra),
Young Tonumaipea (released)
Cameron Munster ($548,500)
2018 average: 58.6
Despite having his worst SuperCoach year, Munster still finished as the fifth highest scoring five-eighth. This could be attributed to a number of factors; the team adjusting to life without Cronk, instability in his halves partner and a tough year in life away from football. The fact remains he is a damaging ball runner (only just entering his prime years) who can beat tackles and score tries from a standing start. He is at his best when he plays eyes up football.
In 2016 filling in for an injured Slater at fullback for the majority of the year he averaged 69, following that up in 2017 at five-eighth with a 66. Munster should get back to this level in 2019 after a disappointing finish to 2018, especially if he gets his wish to play his preferred position of fullback.
Dale Finucane ($432, 900)
2018 average: 46.3
Expect a return to the normal for Finucane this year. He missed a number of games in 2018 due to injury and played through pain in most others. This led to his average dipping to 46, the first time since 2015 it fell below 50. His 2017 average of 55 would have been enough to have him ranked eighth for FRF last season.
Healed from injury and with the Storm looking to show they are still a leading side, Finucane has the chance to step up and lead what is a relatively young pack overall in the absence of retired Ryan Hoffman.
Don't look towards this team for cheapies unless injuries severely test depth. For the purpose of this article however here you go…..
Patrick Kaufusi ($196,900) and Tui Kamikamica ($196,900)
Available in the FRF and dual FRF/2RF respectively. Kaufusi played two games averaging 13.5 whilst Tui played five averaging 17.2. Both need significant injuries to see enough playing time to make them worth it.
Scott Drinkwater ($219,400)
Fullback only. His lone game of 67 last year was enough to push him over the $200k mark. If he gets a prolonged run this price is low for him. Battling it out with Hughes and possibly Munster for the fullback role, it's doubtful he will see playing time until the Origin period.
Cameron Smith (594, 400)
2018 average: 63.5
It's a hot take to put the second highest scoring hooker into the no-go-zone but that's where he belongs in 2019. Smiths' average dropped 11 points per game from 2017 and that was without the burden of Origin. Furthermore, as the season progressed it was obvious by the eye test he was tiring and that was reflected in his SuperCoach scores. For the final seven rounds of the season Smith averaged 51. His base scores during that period were 36, 17, 33, 53, 17, 57, 34.
The Storm may even try and further limit the superstar's minutes this season to keep him fresh. There are also rumours of Brandon Smith being upset that he may be on the sidelines even longer and who knows how many minutes Smith Jr may take from the old bull.
Will Chambers ($378,100)
2018 average: 40.4
Will Chambers scored above 40 points on five occasions in the 2018 season……… FIVE. In May this year he will be on the wrong side of 30. In 14 of the Storm's games they scored 20 points or less. The attacking plays just never seemed to go through the centres and the simple fact is most centres are now big enough and fast enough to deal with Chambers. AVOID