Melbourne Storm will promote five of its Under 20 side from 2014 into its full-time NRL system for next season.
Storm Football Director Frank Ponissi confirmed Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Suliasi Vunivalu and Dean Britt had all been elevated following a post season review.
All five were part of a development program in 2014, with the players switching between the NYC Under 20’s competition and Storm’s state-based feeder teams – Brisbane Easts and Cronulla.
Munster is the only member of that group to have made his NRL debut so far. The 20-year old from central Queensland started in the absence of injured fullback Billy Slater when Storm travelled to Townsville in Round 12 last season.
On Tuesday morning, Ponissi said “We are very pleased to be adding Cameron, Christian, Nelson, Suliasi and Dean to our NRL squad.”
“The addition of these players gives us an exciting mix of young talent in our squad to complement our senior and core group of players,” Ponissi said.
The Under 20’s players will be joined by Hymel Hunt, Felise Kaufusi and Richie Kennar as new faces for Storm members to get to know in 2015.
Hunt, Kaufusi and Kennar are yet to make their NRL debut for Storm, but are likely to get a chance in first grade next season.
Slade Griffin will also return to first grade football in 2015 as he continues to recover from an ACL injury that interrupted his season.
Storm has signed experienced five-eighth Blake Green (Wigan-UK), and former New South Wales and Australian representative Tom Learoyd-Lahrs for 2015.
Exciting Northern Pride youngster Shaun Nona will also join Storm in 2015. Nona was a key part of the Pride’s Queensland Cup premiership side on Sunday, also being judged best afield and awarded the Duncan Hall Medal.
The Club also added flying winger Marika Koroibete (Wests Tigers) to its ranks as a mid-season buy earlier this year.
Storm will farewell its departing players, including champion back-rower Ryan Hoffman, at its Player of the Year awards night in Docklands on Friday 10 October.