Despite being one of the youngest teams in the National Rugby League, the Melbourne Storm already rank among the most successful of the modern era. But for some well-documented salary cap breaches, the men in purple would have five premierships from 21 years of existence.
As it stands, Melbourne enter 2018 with three flags after hammering the North Queensland Cowboys in last year’s NRL Grand Final. That was a last hurrah for the ‘Big Three’ of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, the latter of whom will suit up for the Sydney Roosters this season.
Will Cronk’s departure send the Storm into a tailspin, or are the young guns good enough to fill the void? Let’s see what the bookies are saying.
About the Melbourne Storm
|Home ground:||AAMI Park|
|Premierships:||Three – 1999, 2012, 2017|
|2017 finish:||Premiers (20-4)|
Best bookies for Melbourne Storm betting
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Updated Melbourne Storm futures oddsNRL odds for the Melbourne Storm are brought to you by Sportsbet, where new punters can score up to $501 in bonus bets upon joining. Sign up now for free.
|2018 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Dally M Odds||Top Tryscorer Odds|
|Feb||$6||$1.22||$2||C Smith – $9||S Vunivalu – $7|
|Mar||$6||$1.18||$1.85||C Smith – $11||S Vunivalu – $8|
|Apr||$4.50||$1.10||$1.45||C Smith – $11||J Addo-Carr – $4.50|
|May||$5.50||$1.15||$1.67||B Slater – $23||J Addo-Carr – $3|
|Jun||$7||$1.15||$1.70||C Smith – $15||J Addo-Carr – $4|
|Jul||$7||$1.15||$1.70||C Smith – $15||J Addo-Carr – $4|
|Aug||$3.40||N/A||$1.05||C Smith – $7||J Addo-Carr – $4.25|
|Sep||$4.50||N/A||N/A||C Smith – $26||N/A|
Best Melbourne Storm bets for NRL 2018
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for the Storm, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
- Melbourne dominated the competition last season, yet bookies and punters are forecasting a slide down the ladder in the wake of Cooper Cronk’s exit. We at BettingSite.com.au are much more optimistic about the Storm’s chances in 2018. This is a squad loaded with young talent just waiting for the opportunity to shine on the big stage. As long as the likes of Smith, Slater, Munster, Vunivalu and Addo-Carr play out most of the year, Craig Bellamy’s men will be there or thereabouts once again.
- The Storm head into the season paying a bit over evens to finish in the top four. This is excellent value in anybody’s language. The numbers are there for all to see: excluding 2010, when points deductions consigned them to the wooden spoon, Melbourne have missed the top four only once in the past 11 years.
- With Cooper Cronk out of the equation, Cameron Smith stands head and shoulders above his teammates in the betting for the Dally M Medal. The Storm skipper won it for the second time in 2017 and starts this season as equal favourite alongside North Queensland’s Jason Taumalolo.
- A major factor in Melbourne’s dominance last term was the twin threat of Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr on either flank. The pair racked up some 42 tries between them in the home-and-away season, with Vunivalu’s 23 beating all comers. Thus, it is no surprise to see the Storm’s star wingers hold the top two lines of betting for 2018 NRL top tryscorer.
Melbourne Storm 2018 fixture
|1||Canterbury Bulldogs||Optus Stadium||Saturday, March 10||9pm|
|2||Wests Tigers||AAMI Park||Saturday, March 17||7:30pm|
|3||North Queensland Cowboys||AAMI Park||Thursday, March 22||7:50pm|
|4||Cronulla Sharks||Southern Cross Stadium||Friday, March 30||7:50pm|
|5||Wests Tigers||Mt Smart Stadium||Saturday, April 7||3pm|
|6||Newcastle Knights||AAMI Park||Friday, April 13||6pm|
|7||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Friday, April 20||7:50pm|
|8||New Zealand Warriors||AAMI Park||Wednesday, April 25||7pm|
|9||St George Illawarra Dragons||Jubilee Stadium||Sunday, May 6||2pm|
|10||Gold Coast Titans||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, May 12||5:30pm|
|11||Manly Sea Eagles||AAMI Park||Saturday, May 19||7:30pm|
|12||North Queensland Cowboys||1300SMILES Stadium||Friday, May 25||7:50pm|
|14||Brisbane Broncos||AAMI Park||Sunday, June 10||4:10pm|
|15||Newcastle Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, June 17||2pm|
|16||Sydney Roosters||Allianz Stadium||Friday, June 29||7:50pm|
|17||St George Illawarra Dragons||AAMI Park||Thursday, July 5||7:50pm|
|18||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Saturday, July 14||5:30pm|
|19||New Zealand Warriors||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, July 22||2pm|
|20||Canberra Raiders||AAMI Park||Saturday, July 28||7:30pm|
|21||South Sydney Rabbitohs||ANZ Stadium||Friday, August 3||7:50pm|
|22||Cronulla Sharks||AAMI Park||Sunday, August 12||4:10pm|
|23||Parramatta Eels||AAMI Park||Friday, August 17||7:50pm|
|24||Gold Coast Titans||CBus Stadium||Saturday, August 25||5:30pm|
|25||Penrith Panthers||AAMI Park||Friday, August 31||7:50pm|
Storm players to watch in 2018
If all goes to plan, Slater will notch his 300th NRL game in the opening round of 2018. The veteran fullback was back to his best last term after years of injury trouble, playing a massive part in both Melbourne’s premiership tilt and Queensland’s comeback win in State of Origin. If this should be his last season at AAMI Park, let it be a good one.
This guy was a decent player when he left Wests Tigers at the end of 2016. A year later, he is a certified star of the competition. Addo-Carr has turned out to be much, much more than a mere supporting act for Suni Vunivalu, to the point where opposition teams will have trouble identifying which is the more dangerous flank.
Cooper who? Young Croft has already shown the world what he can do on the big stage. He was the standout among the second stringers last term, slotting a golden field-goal to down the Cowboys in round 15 and bagging a hat-trick against the Knights in round 24. The boy from Dalby looks a perfect fit for the No.7 jersey.
Melbourne Storm records, stats and history
- Most games: 358 – Cameron Smith
Most career points: 2185 – Cameron Smith
Most points in a season: 242 – Matt Geyer
Most career tries: 183 – Billy Slater
Most tries in a season: 23 – Suliasi Vunivalu (2016-17) 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)
Most consecutive wins: 15 (2012-13)
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.
All in all, the Melbourne Storm have played 17 finals campaigns in only 20 years of NRL footy. In that time they have featured in eight grand finals and finished top of the table six times. Past mistakes aside, that’s a hell of a strike rate.
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