Josh Addo-Carr (second right) celebrates a try with teammates during the NRL Qualifying Final. Picture: Getty Images
Josh Addo-Carr (second right) celebrates a try with teammates during the NRL Qualifying Final. Picture: Getty Images

How your team helped turn Storm into NRL powerhouse

Melbourne Storm is the Trash and Treasure capital of the NRL.

So much so, Antique Roadshow, the long-running British documentary series, could drop by Twin Waters and not be disappointed with the bric-a-brac bonanza.

Nine of Craig Bellamy's top squad were unwanted or discarded by other NRL teams.

The other eight Storm linchpins were discovered and developed, or plucked as mature-aged recruits out of state leagues.

Long-suffering Wests Tigers fans must look at Storm and shudder.

So too, North Queensland and Brisbane Broncos.

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The Storm are arguably the best team in the league in getting the best out of other clubs’ rejects. Picture: Getty Images.
The Storm are arguably the best team in the league in getting the best out of other clubs’ rejects. Picture: Getty Images.

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No knock on Adam Doueihi or David Nofoaluma, but how much better would the Tigers be with them and Ryan Papenhuyzen and Josh Addo-Carr in the backfield?

One was too small and injury prone, the other, a wildly inconsistent reserve-grader.

Storm, on the other hand, identified the former Tigers' speed and work rate.

Neither of which could be trained, unlike any perceived physical or football deficiencies.

Circumstance has led to Addo-Carr having to move back to Sydney but the premiership and representative winger appreciates the significance of his Storm education.

"If I'd stayed in Sydney I don't think I would've reached my potential in terms of coaches guiding me to the player I've always wanted to be," Addo-Carr said.

"I knew if I came down to Melbourne, Craig and the coaching staff, the leaders around the club, my teammates, would definitely turn me into the player I've always dreamt to be.

"I'm only a winger but the players that are on the field with me have definitely made me into the player I've turned out to be."

The Tigers have struggled at fullback since James Tedesco left... imagine if they still had Ryan Papenhuyzen. Picture: Getty Images.
The Tigers have struggled at fullback since James Tedesco left... imagine if they still had Ryan Papenhuyzen. Picture: Getty Images.

Scouts tracked Addo-Carr for about two years before signing the speed machine in 2016, some weeks before the electric finisher debuted for the Tigers against Storm.

He played a handful of games for the Tigers but came to Melbourne a work in progress, both individually and externally, committed to making a fist of the opportunity.

"I had that mentality of 'do or die', this would determine if I was a full-time first grader," Addo-Carr said.

"I wanted to come down here to prove to myself that I deserve to be in first grade and Cameron Smith and everyone at the club have definitely helped me to be that player."

The Cowboys, too, have not been immune to talent identification gaffes.

Brandon Smith, Felise Kaufusi and Jahrome Hughes.

They were all on the books, yet flourished in the southern capital.

Less said about the Broncos' plight the better, but after the 'Big Three' debacle, whoever rated Cameron Munster "too soft" must want their time again.

Josh Addo-Carr credits his move to Melbourne for his incredible transformation from reserve grader to State of Origin winger. Picture: Getty Images.
Josh Addo-Carr credits his move to Melbourne for his incredible transformation from reserve grader to State of Origin winger. Picture: Getty Images.

The Bulldogs gifted Storm the ever-reliable Dale Finucane and now, Brenko Lee, who had cups of coffee at three clubs previously, is one win away from starting in an NRL decider.

Storm sets a high bar in recruitment, coaching and welfare, but accountability and the simplicity of "do your job" brings out the best in players.

"Everything here is just really black and white," Lee said.

"You know what your job is and you're expected to do your job to the best of your ability."

Lee has learned a valuable lesson coming to Melbourne, after stints with Canberra, Canterbury and Gold Coast.

He was a standout in the pre-season, including the Storm rite of passage, the IDQ (I Don't Quit) commando camp.

"You got to prepare on Monday if you want to play a good game on the weekend," Lee said.

"You can't breeze through the week and expect to play well on the weekend.

"I got caught up in that a lot at other teams, not training as well as I should be but thinking come the weekend I'm going to come good."

With Dally M contender Harry Grant and the untapped Isaac Lumelume among others to come into the side next year, would you write off the Storm any time soon?

STORM TROOPERS

1. Ryan Papenhuyzen - Let go by Wests Tigers

2. Suliasi Vunivalu - Discovered playing union as a schoolboy in New Zealand

3. Brenko Lee - Let go by Raiders, Bulldogs and Titans

4. Justin Olam - Discovered playing for PNG Hunters in Queensland Cup

5. Josh Addo-Carr - Let go by Wests Tigers

6. Cameron Munster - Overlooked by several clubs including the Broncos and Bulldogs, was playing for Central Queensland Capras

7. Jahrome Hughes - Let go by Titans and Cowboys

8. Jesse Bromwich - Turned up at training to support younger brother Kenny

9. Cameron Smith - Moved to Melbourne from Brisbane in search of an opportunity

10. Christian Welch - Discovered in junior state league competition in Queensland

11. Felise Kaufusi - Plucked from Cowboys U20s and Queensland Cup affiliate

12. Kenny Bromwich - Worked through Storm ranks after being signed out of New Zealand

13. Dale Finucane - Let go by the Bulldogs

 

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14. Brandon Smith - Plucked from Cowboys U20s program

15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona - Played junior rugby league and union in Wellington, New Zealand

16. Tino Faasuamaleaui - Played junior rugby league in Queensland

17. Nicho Hynes - Mature-aged recruit, who played U20s at Manly, then Mackay in the Queensland Cup before moving to Storm-affiliate Sunshine Coast


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