In a series analysing who will line up in each position for all 16 teams in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership in 2021, NRL.com looks at the Melbourne Storm.
NRL.com says: With the Cameron Smith are (un)officially over, Harry Grant is the ready-made replacement. However, he injured his knee in the trial against Newcastle and will miss the first three rounds of the season.
Brandon Smith will be the logical choice to start at hooker with bench utility Nicho Hynes providing back-up.
Dale Finucane's ankle injury a week out from the start of the season has thrown another spanner in the works for Melbourne with Nelson Asofa-Solomona likely to fill in at lock.
Recruits Reimis Smith and George Jennings are vying with Isaac Lumelume for Suliasi Vunivalu's vacant wing spot.
A fit-again Tui Kamikamica and Hynes are jostling with the likes of Max King, Tom Eisenhuth and Darryn Schonig for the bench spots.
Jamie Soward says: They're going to be so hard to beat. I think they're the favourites, everyone just knows their job.
They get Harry Grant to replace Cameron Smith. They lose Tino but get Tui back from injury. Nicho Hynes in interesting, I loved him off the bench last year, I think he'll get plenty of time off the bench playing through the middle because he's a competitor and understands the game.
Hynes with Brandon, Nelson and Tui is probably the best bench in the game. He can provide a nice little foil playing on the ball.
It will be interesting to see what happens this season with Brandon Smith – I thought he'd earned that starting No.9 spot with what he'd done over the past few years. Melbourne are big on biding your time and while Harry had a fantastic season I thought Brandon earned the start ahead.
Their outside backs showed some vulnerability this year with kick tries conceded so that's something to work on. I like Reimis Smith as the first choice to replace Suli but there are options there.
Storm in 2021
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