The always impressive Melbourne Storm will no doubt give the 2017 NRL Premiership Title a red hot crack.
The two questions on everyone’s lips will be whether Billy Slater will be fully fit to start at fullback and where that leaves Cameron Munster.
Kevin Proctor and Blake Green are the two notable departures while Josh Addo-Carr should be the only new inclusion in the Storm seventeen.
Let’s take a look at how the 2016 runners-up should line up this year.
- Billy Slater ($300.8k) scored 50 points against the Dragons in round one last year then missed the remainder of the season through injury. He is very under-priced for a player of his calibre and could potentially make a nice amount of coin for your team. I’d like to see how he performs during the trial games before making a decision, but he’ll likely be an asset to your SC team.
- Suliasi Vunivalu ($350.2k) was a try scoring machine last year but surprisingly finished the season priced at $300k. Consistency is a big issue with Vunivalu. He would’ve finished the season with a running five round average of 25 points if it wasn’t for his 145 point effort against Manly in round 24. I won’t be forking out $350k for him but I’ll be monitoring his break even if he strings together some poor performances.
- Cheyse Blair ($335.7k) came into the Storm seventeen in round nine of 2016 and averaged 50 points from 14 appearances. He managed to produce scores above 55 around 50% of the time but was no stranger to scoring under 40. I don’t think Blair can benefit our sides too much. He never cracked the $300k mark until his 96 point effort in the final round of the season. Curtis Scott is the other option for the centre position.
- Will Chambers ($313.2k) is usually a player that can average 60 PPG but never returned to top form after missing around ten games through the meat of the season. I can see a large number of coaches starting the season with Chambers but I’d like to see how he performs in the trial games before making a decision. After all, he scored just one game over 45 points since returning from injury.
- Young Tonumaipea ($238.4k) co-captained the Storm at the Auckland Nines and seems to have edged out Josh Addo-Carr for the vacant wing position left by Marika Koroibete. Tonumaipea averaged just 36 PPG from 12 games last year but he didn’t play an 80 minute role. Is it worth taking a risk on the $238k winger? Surely he’ll be on a few coaches’ radar with that price tag.
- Cameron Munster (460.9k) replaced Billy Slater at fullback last year but will likely make way now that he has returned from injury. Rumours are indicating that either Munster or Curtis Scott will have first crack at partnering Cronk in the halves since Blake Green has moved to the Manly Sea Eagles. I can’t see too many coaches spending $460k on a player that is yet to prove himself in a specific position, despite being one of the best guns in SuperCoach 2016.
- Cooper Cronk ($395.8k) just fell short of a season average of 60 points last year and is usually a ‘rocks or diamonds’ type of player. $395k is simply too much to pay for a player of Cronk’s SuperCoach pedigree although we need to keep in mind that his performance during the back end of the 2016 season exceeded that of his opening form. In saying that, we probably won’t see his price jump over $400k so I can’t see him being selected in too many coaches’ starting sides.
- Jesse Bromwich ($436.7k) is usually a popular SuperCoach option in the FRF position with 30% of coaches deciding to run with the Storm prop for most of last season. He produced an average of 65 PPG but dropped below 60 for his final running five round average. $436k isn’t a bad price to pay for J-Brom so don’t feel like you have to look elsewhere if you have your heart set on him.
- Cameron Smith ($523.7k) is the one and only safe hooker option in SuperCoach. His lowest score of the 2016 season was 42 and he managed to crank out four games over a hundred. He finished the season with an astonishing 78.4 point average and he has the added bonus of being the club’s goal kicker. It goes without saying that we’ll have to fork out the coin for these impressive stats but he’s worth every penny. Ignore him at your own peril.
- Jordan McLean ($244.7k) may be a starting prop but he produces the stats of an involved benchie (well, not that bad). He’ll usually play around 40 to 45 minutes per game but will hardly ever score above 50 points in a single appearance. You’ll get what you paid for with McLean.
- Kenny Bromwich ($265.4k) should be the beneficiary of Kevin Proctor’s departure. He played an average of 40 to 45 minutes from the bench last season but should increase his involvement while being part of the starting team. It’s a gutsy move using Bromwich as part of your starting side but he’s almost guaranteed to make you a bit of coin. Keep in mind that Proctor averaged 61 PPG last year so I guess the questions is – should we expect any different from him replacement?
- Tohu Harris ($448.1k) is always a popular SuperCoach choice due to his consistency and DPP 2RF/CTW status. It’s pretty handy having a forward averaging 67 PPG in the CTW position so try to get him into your side as soon as it suits your plan.
- Dale Finucane ($384.6k) is a very consistent SC player but won’t really serve a purpose in your team. If he replicates last seasons’ form then he’ll hover around his starting price while producing scores between 50 and 70 points. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll keep those base points ticking over in the opening stages of the season, but you’ll eventually want to upgrade him to someone that’ll suit your run home side.
- Nelson Asofa-Solomona ($245.5k) produced a 36.7 PPG season average last year and is expected to do the same this season. He’s not one to consider for your SC side unless he somehow makes the starting side.
- Felise Kaufusi ($192.6k) averaged just 23 minutes per game last year and only became note-worthy when his minutes increased during the Origin period. If you picked him up and offloaded him at the right times, you would’ve gained a nice $90k profit. Keep this in mind when the bye period approaches.
- Tim Glasby ($261.4k) is priced a little awkwardly for someone playing from the bench. He actually averaged close to 40 PPG and received more minutes than the likes of Kaufusi, but I wouldn’t be considering him for your starting side.
- Christian Welch ($179.6k) produced a similar output to Kaufusi and hardly fluctuated in price at all. I wouldn’t consider Welch a viable SuperCoach candidate in 2017.
Will you be selecting Munster if he starts in the halves?