Scouting Stories - Josh Addo-Carr

Scouting Stories - Josh Addo-Carr

The journey of the Foxx to Melbourne. Storm fans have already soaked up the benefits and will no doubt continue to for many years to come.

But how did it all happen?

The wheels of motion slowly began turning back in 2015 when Storm recruiters first noticed Josh Addo-Carr running around for the Cronulla Sharks in the Under-20s competition.

Even back then Addo-Carr was turning heads, with 28 tries in 44 games during his two years in the development league.

Once the speedy winger was old enough to step into the NRL, Melbourne Storm enquired about luring him down south. However their initial advances came up short as he opted to sign with Wests Tigers for the 2016 season.

As fate would have it, just a few months later it was announced that dynamic Fijian Marika Koroibete would depart Melbourne, leaving Storm once again in search of a winger.

That search went back to a familiar place.

“I said to Craig ‘I know where there is a winger, don’t worry about that, we will be able to replace Marika’,” Storm Recruitment Manager Paul Bunn said.

“We set about making sure that we were monitoring his start to the (2016) season and his manager always knew we were interested in him.

“One the eve of his debut with the Tigers, he actually signed a deal to play with us the following year.”

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That debut was against, you guessed it, Melbourne Storm in Round 7.

On the other side of the field, his opposite number Suliasi Vunivalu was playing his first NRL game.

Both players scored with their first touches of the football.

Fast forward 24 months and they make up the most dynamic wing duo in the NRL. Addo-Carr and Vunivalu combined for 46 tries during Storm’s Premiership run last year – the most of any wing pairing in a single season since 1977.

“A lot of people on the outside had reservations about the signing of Josh Addo-Carr,” Bunn said.

“But if you knew about footy, you just knew this kid would be good.

“There was this strange perception about Josh that he was a kid that didn’t tow the line but that was all beat-up rubbish. In recruitment you need to do your background checks. I rang some old mates who knew him and nobody gave him a knock.”

The doubters may have been sceptical prior to Addo-Carr arriving in Melbourne but they did not factor in how willing the 21-year-old would be to buy into the Storm culture.

Bunn recalls his first meeting with the winger that blew him away.

“When I first met Josh and his girlfriend Lakaree it was just so refreshing to meet both of them,” Bunn said.

“You just knew they were both going to fit in down at the Storm. They were just so friendly.

“Lakaree said she was related to Greg Inglis and that they had asked Greg for advice on what to do. Greg told them to pack their bags and get down to the Storm.”

For a player who holds his family close to his heart, the fact Addo-Carr has signed on to remain in Melbourne until at least the end of 2021 says everything about what this Club means to him.

Bunn praised the Storm welfare department, made up of Brian Phelan, Peter Robinson and Andrew Blowers, for their help in assisting Josh and Lakaree in making Melbourne their home.

“The work that they do is incredible and Josh is a fine example of that,” Bunn said.

“The amount of work they were willing to put in to help Josh to transition down here was huge and it becomes mutual. Josh brought in the moment he walked into this joint.

“Outside of the coaching department and what they’ve done with him, the welfare department has done an outstanding job with him, as they do with all the boys.”