Melbourne Storm’s night of nights is just over 24 hours away!
An outstanding season by the team has provided many great individual performances.
We take a look at who is in the running for the 2016 Storm Player of the Year:
Already a six-time winner of the Club’s highest individual award, Smith once again led his team with tremendous esteem this season. For the 11th consecutive season he finished the year as Storm’s leading points scorer. He also provided 18 try assists and 16 line break assists as well as averaging almost 43 tackles per game. Smith’s 73 tackles in the Grand Final were also the third most of any player in rugby league history.
Named the Dally M Player of the Year for the second time in four years. Cronk provided a team-high 23 try assists while scoring 12 himself, equaling his career best. The champion halfback also kicked three field goals throughout the season to get Storm over the line, including one in golden point against Wests Tigers in Round 7.
Could the Kiwi prop win the award for a third consecutive year? His stats certainly give a fair indication that he can. Bromwich finished the season ranked in the top six in the NRL for total metres, runs, and offloads. The 27-year-old was also named the Dally M Prop of the Year for the first time in his career, averaging almost 150 metres per game.
Munster backed up an outstanding rookie season with a flawless year in 2016. The youngster was ever reliable under the high ball and influential as a playmaker in attack with 12 try assists and 17 line break assists. Munster was consistent all season, a necessity to be crowned Player of the Year and finished second in the voting last season alongside Smith.
For the second year running a rookie is in line to be crowned Player of the Year. That is remarkable to think, given that Vunivalu did not make his first grade debut until Round 7 but his rapid rise in first grade justifies his candidacy. He scored six tries in his opening three games and did not stop there, going on to finish the season as the NRL’s leading try scorer with 23 to his name.
One of the toughest players in the NRL lived up to his reputation this season, playing every game. He averaged 34 tackles per game, ranked 10th in the NRL and was unlucky to not be named in Laurie Daly’s New South Wales side for the 2016 State of Origin series. A hard-nosed, uncompromising player who fits the Craig Bellamy mold perfectly which should see him feature very prominently in the votes.
For a third consecutive year Harris played every game of the season. Mr. Consistent played more minutes than any other player at the Club while also scoring four tries, more than doubling his career tally. Harris also proved his incredible versatility by playing in the centres, five-eighth and the second row at various stages throughout the season.