The Melbourne Storm have been one of the competition’s most consistent team since their inception in 1998. The men in purple have won four premierships, while they have also finished the regular season on top of the ladder on five occasions.
Even without the retired Cameron Smith, the Storm finished top of the table in 2021. They could not quite go on with the job this time, however, as they were knocked out in the preliminary finals by the eventual champions, the Penrith Panthers.
Since 2016, Melbourne have played in four grand finals, and the online bookmakers are tipping that they will be thereabouts again in 2022, as they head into the season at the top of premiership betting markets as $5.50 joint-favourites alongside their newest and potentially greatest rivals, the Panthers.
About the Melbourne Storm
|Home ground:||AAMI Park|
|Premierships:||Four – 1999, 2012, 2017, 2020|
|2021 ladder finish:||First (21-3) – Knocked out in PF|
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Updated Melbourne Storm futures odds
|2022 Premiership||Make Top 4||Top Tryscorer|
|Apr||$4.50||$1.35||X Coates $9|
|May||$3.40||$1.05||X Coates $3.50|
Best Melbourne Storm bets for NRL 2022
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for the Storm, but where are they likely to return some real value?
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- In 2021, Melbourne were without Cameron Smith for the first time since 2002, which saw plenty of pundits doubt their chances. But, in true Storm fashion under the guidance of supercoach Craig Bellamy, they were able to lift the Minor Premiership shield for a fifth time. They went into the season with a young squad and will have an even younger squad in 2022, but they look ready to compete at the highest level once again.
- With Josh Addo-Carr heading to the Canterbury Bulldogs, Melbourne have lost one of the game’s greatest tryscorers. They were quick to find a replacement, however, signing Queensland Maroons winger Xavier Coates. Set to slot right into where Addo-Carr played, there’s no reason to suggest Coates can’t be scoring four-pointers for fun out on the left, feeding off Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen.
Melbourne Storm 2022 fixture
|1||Wests Tigers||CommBank Stadium||Saturday, March 12||6:35pm|
|2||South Sydney Rabbitohs||AAMI Park||Thursday, March 17||8:05pm|
|3||Parramatta Eels||AAMI Park||Saturday, March 26||8:05pm|
|4||Canterbury Bulldogs||AAMI Park||Sunday, April 3||4:05pm|
|5||Canberra Raiders||McDonalds Park||Saturday, April 9||3pm|
|6||Cronulla Sharks||AAMI Park||Saturday, April 16||7:35pm|
|7||New Zealand Warriors||AAMI Park||Monday, April 25||7pm|
|8||Newcastle Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, May 1||2pm|
|9||St George Illawarra Dragons||AAMI Park||Sunday, May 8||2pm|
|10||Penrith Panthers||Suncorp Stadium||Sunday, May 14||7:45pm|
|11||North Queensland Cowboys||QC Bank Stadium||Sunday, May 21||5:30pm|
|12||Manly Sea Eagles||AAMI Park||Thursday, May 26||7:50pm|
|14||Sydney Roosters||SCG||Saturday, June 11||5:30pm|
|15||Brisbane Broncos||AAMI Park||Friday, June 17||7:55pm|
|16||Manly Sea Eagles||4 Pines Park||Thursday, June 30||7:50pm|
|17||Cronulla Sharks||PointsBet Stadium||Thursday, July 7||7:50pm|
|18||Canberra Raiders||AAMI Park||Sunday, July 17||4:05pm|
|19||South Sydney Rabbitohs||Accor Stadium||Saturday, July 23||7:35pm|
|20||New Zealand Warriors||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, July 29||6pm|
|21||Gold Coast Titans||AAMI Park||Friday, August 5||6pm|
|22||Penrith Panthers||BlueBet Stadium||Thursday, August 11||7:50pm|
|23||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Friday, August 19||7:55pm|
|24||Sydney Roosters||AAMI Park||Friday, August 26||7:55pm|
|25||Parramatta Eels||CommBank Stadium||Thursday, September 1||7:50pm|
Storm players to watch in 2022
Jahrome Hughes had a real breakthrough season in 2021, setting up 19 tries in 24 games as well as crossing the tryline on nine occasions. The New Zealand international racked up 20 Dally M points throughout the year, finishing seventh overall, behind the likes of Tom Trbojevic and Nathan Cleary. With Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen missing much of the 2021 season, Hughes was forced to build a new partnership with replacement fullback Nicho Hynes, which took a couple of rounds to get rolling. With Papenhuyzen back in the squad, Hughes can be a real force to be reckoned with this year on the right-hand side of the park.
Queensland prop Christian Welch is on the cusp of being one of the game’s best front-rowers – if he isn’t already. Throughout the 2021 season, the hard-hitting forward made over 1,000 post-contact metres, averaging 11.6 hit-ups a game. The 28-year-old made 528 tackles last season, with a tackle efficiency of 92% – one of the competition’s best. With Dale Finucane out of the side, and with brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich departing to the Dolphins along with Felise Kafusi in 2023, there is a real opportunity for Welch to step up this season and be the leader of the Melbourne Storm pack.
Ryan Papenhuyzen had an injury-stricken 2021, playing just 15 games. Nevertheless, the Melbourne fullback scored 14 tries and was extremely accurate with the boot, slotting 49 goals at a conversion rate of 86%. With big shoes to fill having taken Billy Slater’s no.1 jersey, Papenhuyzen has risen to the occasion so far, with tackle breaks and line breaks a real strength of his. Provided ‘Paps’ can stay fit and avoid any serious injury in 2022, he could be a key figure in guiding Melbourne to a sixth premiership.
Melbourne Storm records, stats and history
- Most games: 433 – Cameron Smith
- Most career points: 2,810 – Cameron Smith
- Most points in a season: 242 – Matt Geyer
- Most career tries: 190 – Billy Slater
- Most tries in a season: 23 – Suliasi Vunivalu (2016, 2017) and Josh Addo-Carr (2017)
- Most best and fairest awards: Seven – Cameron Smith (2005-07, 2011-13, 2017)
- Most wins in a season: 21 (2007, 2021)
- Most consecutive wins: 19 (2021)
- Highest score in a match: 70 (vs. Dragons, 2000)
- Biggest winning margin: 64-0 (vs. Tigers, 2001) and 68-4 (vs. Raiders, 2013)
- Largest home attendance: 52,347 (vs. Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium, 2016)
- Melbourne Storm is an appropriate name for a team that was born in the maelstrom of the Super League wars. It is also an apt description for the club’s sudden and violent impact on the NRL.
Prior examples tell us that it takes several years – sometimes decades, sometimes never – for an expansion team to find its feet at the top level. The Storm put that nonsense to bed when they won the first four games of their maiden season in 1998. They reached finals that year and went even better the next, downing St George Illawarra to win the NRL Grand Final at the ripe old age of two.
Melbourne grew stronger and stronger during the first decade of the new millennium, adding premiership wins in 2007 and 2009 alongside minor flags in 2006 and 2008. However, they were all taken away in 2010 when the club was charged with a series of salary cap breaches adding up to over $3 million. Stripped of all their premiership points, the Storm finished bottom of the ladder that year for the first and only time.
Even that couldn’t shake the men in purple. Boasting top-drawer talents such as Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Gareth Widdop and Justin O’Neill, the Storm reached the prelims in 2011 and reclaimed one of their disqualified premierships a year later. They were losing grand finalists in 2016 and restored their flag count to three with a dominant win over the Cowboys in 2017.
The Melbourne Storm have missed the finals only three times – once through a points deduction for salary cap breaches – since joining the competition in 1998. In that time they have featured in eight grand finals and finished top of the table seven times. Past mistakes aside, that’s a hell of a strike rate.