It was a surprising week 1 Finals exit for the Storm last season, at the hands of the Raiders of all teams (who finished in eighth place). The Storm finished in fifth place which meant they didn’t get two bites at the cherry during Finals time. That result surely wouldn’t have pleased coach Craig Bellamy, and the Storm will be looking to come back even better this season.
All in all, it seems like the recruitment period for the Storm has let them down, but when you boast one of the best and most consistent teams in the league, it is only understandable that other teams want a piece. In terms of players gained, the key is Tariq Sims from the Dragons, he will bring a lot of experience to an already experienced team. Eliesa Katoa has also made the move from across the ditch from the Warriors to Melbourne.
The players that the Storm have lost include the Bromwich brothers (Jesse and Kenny) who are both moving to the Dolphins. Felise Kaufusi is also on the move to the Dolphins, while none other than Brandon Smith has moved on to rival squad, the Roosters and finally Cooper Johns is on the move to the Sea Eagles.
Ins: Tariq Sims, Eliesa Katoa, Joe Chan and Aaron Pene
Outs: Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi, Brandon Smith and Cooper Johns
Key Player: Harry Grant
With such a star-studded line up, it is difficult to pick just one key player for the Storm, but Harry Grant does stand out. His performance last year, especially in the State of Origin was breath-taking, and he is sure to be in for another stellar year. Grant will have extra responsibility on his shoulders this year as Brandon Smith has moved on to the Roosters.
Rising Star: Jonah Pezet
The rising star for the Storm is certainly Jonah Pezet. The 19-year-old made a name for himself in the U19s State of Origin in 2022, and there could be an extension on the cards for him with the Storm. Although, with the squad that the Storm have at the moment, he will likely have to wait for his chance to shine in first grade.
5 Key Matches To Watch
Match 1: Round 1, vs Eels, at CommBank Stadium (Thu, Mar 2, 7:50pm)
Match 2: Round 11, vs Broncos, at AMMI Park (Sat, May 6, 7:45pm)
Match 3: Round 17, vs Sea Eagles, at AMMI Park (Sat, Jun 24, 7:35pm)
Match 4: Round 20, vs Roosters, at Sydney Cricket Gound (Sat, Jul 15, 7:35pm)
Match 5: Round 23, vs Panthers, at BlueBet Stadium (Fri, Aug 4, 8pm)
2023 NRL Season Expectations
The signings have hurt the Storm somewhat, but just how much is yet to be seen. They have lost quality and experienced players, but if you look at the players that remain, they are still one of the strongest squads going around. There are a lot of eyes on fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who was badly injured last season. The Storm will remain in the top eight, but a spot in the top four may just be out of reach once again this season.