It’s been two seasons in the making but Melbourne are ready to reap the rewards of recruiting a power forward pack.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith went to club officials at the end of 2014 requesting they add some size to help the likes of emerging star prop Jesse Bromwich.
Smith believed that the best NRL teams had the biggest packs, who took the sting out of the defence and opened up opportunities for the playmakers.
Along with youngsters already at the club like Jordan McLean, the result is that the Storm now boast one of the most formidable packs in the NRL.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona stands 200cm and 115kg, Bromwich, is 194cm and 114kg, while McLean is 196cm and 115kg.
With the exception of Smith, all of the Storm forwards weigh in at over 100kg with former Bulldog Dale Finucane the lightest at 102kg.
McLean said increase in size had boosted the team’s confidence.
“It’s definitely more confidence that you take in with having bigger players beside you,” McLean said.
The 24-year-old said the Storm bench had the same standards as the starters, which had made the transition seamless this season.
“We spoke in the pre-season about not letting the standards drop once the starting front-rowers are off the field, so I don’t really think you can tell the difference between the starting and the bench players at the moment.”
McLean said Bromwich, as the competition’s best forward, had set a benchmark for his teammates.
He said he had tried to add some more skills to his own game.
“I suppose playing alongside Jesse, he’s got a lot of the ability.
“I’ve tried to do a few little things at training just so I’m not a one-dimensional, old-school front-rower running straight and them picking me off straight away. So I’ve got to try to give myself something.”
McLean’s game in the Storm’s qualifying win over North Queensland had commentators talking him up as a Kangaroos bolter.
Having so far only played for Country, McLean wasn’t getting too far ahead of himself.
“I don’t dream too far ahead, but if I ever got the chance I’d stick my hand up for it,” he said.
“For the time being it’s just for the Storm and the week ahead.”
Height and weight of the Storm forwards:
Nelson Asofa-Solomona – 200cm, 115kg
Jesse Bromwich – 194cm, 114kg
Matt White – 196cm, 113kg
Jordan McLean – 196cm , 115kg
Tohu Harris – 195cm, 112kg
Dale Finucane – 188cm, 102kg
Kenny Bromwich – 183cm, 105kg
Tim Glasby – 188cm, 104kg
Felice Kaufusi – 189cm, 109kg
Kevin Proctor – 189cm, 105kg
Christian Welch – 188cm, 105kg.