20-year Team: Fullbacks
The Melbourne Storm No.1 jersey has only been consistently worn by three players over the Club’s 20-year history – a remarkable show of consistency.
We take an in-depth look at the trio who are in contention for the fullback spot in Melbourne Storm’s 20-year team:
- 89 Storm games (1998-2003)
- 53 tries
- 1999 Premiership player
The inaugural fullback. Ross arrived in Melbourne after spending time with Newcastle, Brisbane and Hunter in the breakaway ARL and Super League competitions before moving south to help put rugby league’s newest franchise on the map and he certainly did that, scoring 53 tries in 89 games during his six seasons in the purple jersey. Ross wore the No.1 in the Club’s inaugural Premiership triumph in 1999 and scored two tries in the World Club Challenge triumph over St Helens a few months later. The Origin and Australian representative retired in 2003, allowing a former apprentice jockey to take the fullback reigns from then on.
- 299 Storm games (2003-present)
- 183 tries
- 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017 Premiership player
Slater came to Melbourne as the gangly teenager that grew into arguably the greatest fullback rugby league has ever seen. The boys from Innisfail made his debut on the wing, announcing himself to the NRL world in that game with a long range try in Round 1, 2003 against the Sharks. Slater scored eight tries in his first 10 games playing predominantly at centre. By Round 9 of that year he was given the purple No.1 jersey and has held it ever since. The superstar holds the record for most tries in NRL Finals history and the second most all-time. His decorated career has seen him become a two-time Clive Churchill medallist, three-time Dally M Fullback of the Year and a Golden Boot and Dally M Player of the Year winner. The 34-year-old has undergone his fair share of adversity in recent years, with shoulder injuries in 2015 and 2016 leading many to questions whether Slater would ever return back to his best. It is fair to say that he answered that question emphatically when he returned last year to help guide his side to Premiership glory once again.
- 65 Storm games (2014-present)
- 12 tries
- 2017 Premiership player
What an emergence it has been for Cameron Munster. He played the one and only game in his debut season, Round 12, 2014 against the Cowboys in Townsville. The following year the door of opportunity opened when a shoulder injury to Slater saw Munster thrust into the fullback role. It was a sink or swim moment and the youngster made it seem almost effortless. He helped Storm to a top four finish that season and a Grand Final appearance the following year. The exciting playmaker then showcased his versatility when he went to a new level after being shifted into the five-eighth role by Craig Bellamy. The No.6 jersey proved a perfect fit, seeing Munster become a crucial part of the 2017 Premiership side on his way to becoming an Origin and Australian debutant.