Storm's Jahrome Hughes.

The Storm enter the Billy Slater era with skipper Cameron Smith (at the time of writing) still unsigned heading into the Christmas break but expected to put pen to paper in the new year.

Jahrome Hughes is likely to get first crack at Slater's famed No.1 jersey, although Scott Drinkwater is pressing for a chance as well.

While Smith is expected to start 2019 at hooker for the Storm, his namesake Brandon is the heir apparent if not. Tim Glasby's departure will hand a chance to Albert Vete or Sam Kasiano with the team otherwise unchanged from the grand final.

Resident NRL.com expert Jamie Soward says:

"Jahrome Hughes to fullback. They'll be up there again. There's not too many question marks. The question mark is life after Billy Slater.

"We saw a couple of times this year when Smith was off the field the errors crept in and completion rate dropped. Brodie Croft didn't start the season too well, he certainly needs to handle those situations better. That time in reserve grade really did him well."

NRL.com's predicted Round 1 team:

  1. Jahrome Hughes
  2. Josh Addo-Carr
  3. Will Chambers
  4. Curtis Scott
  5. Suli Vunivalu
  6. Cameron Munster
  7. Brodie Croft
  8. Jesse Bromwich
  9. Cameron Smith
  10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  11. Felise Kaufusi
  12. Joe Stimson
  13. Dale Finucane
  14. Brandon Smith
  15. Kenny Bromwich
  16. Albert Vete
  17. Christian Welch

Other squad members: Cheyse Blair, Scott Drinkwater, Tom Eisenhuth, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Tui Kamikamica, Sam Kasiano, Patrick Kaufusi, Justin Olam, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Marion Seve, Billy Walters