PENPIX FOR MELBOURNE’S LIKELY NRL GRAND FINAL TEAM
Fullback – Cameron Munster
Age: 22 NRL games: 43 Grand finals: 0
Has been stellar in the absence of injured star Billy Slater and brings a point of difference to the Storm’s structured attack.
Winger – Suliasi Vunivalu
Age: 20 NRL games: 20 Grand finals: 0
A serious weapon in the air and open space, Vunivalu’s 23 tries in 19 games broke Israel Folau’s record for most tries in a season by a rookie.
Centre – Will Chambers
Age: 28 NRL games: 148 Grand finals: 2 Premierships: 1
A staple of the Storm’s backline since debuting in 2007, Chambers has been in arguably career-best form in 2016.
Centre – Cheyse Blair
Age: 24 NRL games: 60 Grand finals: 0
Finally found a home in Melbourne after playing for two clubs in his first four seasons. Had a tough night marking Joey Leilua but recovered to score the match-winning try on Saturday. Has another difficult assignment in Jack Bird.
Winger – Marika Koroibete
Age: 24 NRL games: 73 Grand finals: 0
Set to play his final game of rugby league before switching over to rugby union, Koroibete has the ability to kickstart Storm sets with inspiring kick returns, just like the one that got Jack Wighton crucially sent to the sin bin on Saturday night.
Five-eighth – Blake Green
Age: 30 NRL games: 91 Grand finals: 0
Will play his final game in Storm colours before a summer move to Manly. Has proven a capable foil to star halves partner Cooper Cronk in a rebirth under Craig Bellamy over the past two years.
Halfback – Cooper Cronk
Age: 32 NRL games: 300 Grand finals: 5 Premierships: 1
The newest member of the NRL’s 300-game club is the crux of the Storm’s attack, with his decision-making in good-ball situations their most likely source of points.
Prop – Jesse Bromwich
Age: 27 NRL games: 158 Grand finals: 1 Premierships: 1
A rock in the Storm’s forward pack since debuting in 2010, Bromwich has emerged as a leader for club and country over the past two years. Considered by many as the No.1 prop in the game.
Hooker – Cameron Smith
Age: 33 NRL games: 334 Grand finals: 4 Premierships: 1
The key to the Storm’s success for the best part of a decade, Smith’s ability to dictate the flow of the game from the middle of the field will be critical against the Sharks.
Prop – Jordan McLean
Age: 24 NRL games: 65 Grand finals: 0
An ankle injury late in the year temporarily halted a career year for McLean, but he has since regained a starting spot and starting minutes.
Second-rower – Kevin Proctor
Age: 27 NRL games: 178 Grand finals: 1 Premierships: 1
Another who has established himself as a core Storm member and always proves a handful on their left edge with his hard runs and experience.
Second-rower – Tohu Harris
Age: 24 NRL games: 102 Grand finals: 0
Spent much of the year covering for injuries in the centres and at five-eighth, but has found momentum running off Cronk on the Storm’s right edge.
Lock – Dale Finucane
Age: 25 NRL games: 115 Grand finals: 1 Premierships: 0
Four years after losing to Melbourne in the 2012 decider, Finucane has fast-established himself as a critical piece of the Storm’s forward pack in his first season at the club with his consistent workrate.
Age: 24 NRL games: 71 Grand finals: 0
A versatile, under-sized forward who can trouble teams with late footwork and offloads. A point of difference.
Age: 32 NRL games: 62 Grand finals: 0 Premierships: 0
Reliable front-rower that has been in and out of Craig Bellamy’s starting line-up all year, producing consistent, error-free 40-minute shifts.
Age: 22 NRL games: 26 Grand finals: 0
Gets his shot at a premiership in place of injured powerhouse Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Welch isn’t expected to play more than 20 minutes in their forward rotation.
Age: 24 NRL games: 35 Grand finals: 0
Another substitute that is used sparingly by coach Craig Bellamy, topping 20 minutes just once in his past seven games and didn’t even get off the bench against the Raiders.