Grand Final 2007: Storm Player Preview

NRL Grand Final 2007
 Melbourne Storm

Today we cast an eye over the bruised and battered Melbourne Storm 2007 Grand Final team. The dominant NRL team all season, how are their individual players shaping up for the Rugby League clash of the year:

Billy Slater
The lethal little man is carrying a leg injury; but his presence alone lifts the Storm team. Will need every ounce of speed to stop Brett Stewart’s regular blitzkrieg’s.

Steve Turner
The king of contracts has proved his worth this year and has started to erase the bad vibes around his treatment of the Titans. Deceptively quick on the flank, he has a nice in and away that will give Steve Matai nightmares.

Matt King
One of the most dominant centres in the game. Tall, rangy and difficult to stop at close range in attack – however, he is a confidence based player in defence and will need to be on his game early or risk nerves throughout the game as Manly pepper his corner.

Israel Folau
The 2007 NRL Rookie of the year has the Rugby League world at his feet. Everyone knows what he is capable of now; but it requires plenty of defenders to stop him. Carried 5 Eels over the try line last week in a mammoth display. Durability a worry after some heavy knocks last week

Anthony Quinn
Tough and passionate, a good asset in a Grand Final where desire takes a front row seat. Is prone to being baited and can give away silly penalties. If he can keep emotions in check will be a major force for the Storm

Greg Inglis
Injury and the famous second year syndrome have hampered his year in 2007. His move to fight eight has been hard; but there is no questioning his danger in attack. Can step and weave the length of the field – one of those players who can create something from nothing (a la Benji Marshall in 2005) Manly will need to watch him all day

Cooper Cronk
Yet another production line halfback that rolls off the Storm machine. Astute kicking is only rivaled by M.Monaghan and Cronk has the ability to go to the line and challenge tired forwards – a live wire that is rarely off his game

Ben Cross
A real hard head that plays an unsung hero role for the Storm. His injury concern is yet another major worry for Bellamy and Co. Fearless and tireless he hits the line hard and straight; very much in the mould of Rodney Howe

Cameron Smith
Without doubt the single key to Melbourne winning the NRL 2007 Grand Final. His proven ability to guide the team around is well known, cool under pressure and regularly stifles opposing hookers. If Smith shuts down Monaghan the Storm will win.

Brett White
A metre eating forward that is no nonsense in his approach. Is known to make the occasional error and may be suspect to the rough stuff; if he keeps healthy early expect a good showing from White

Clint Newton
The experienced former Knight is now a valuable asset for the Storm; big game experience and a hard head are just what Melbourne need. Industrious defender and has the ability to break the line when he floats wider of the ruck. Possess a good offload that will worry Manly.

Ryan Hoffman
Unheralded forward that most certainly deserves more praise. Plays well above his weight and is one of the best hole running forwards in the NRL. His defence efficiency is well known, but it’s his gap running that will have Des Hasler most worried.

Dallas Johnson
The closest thing to a robot. His tireless tackling frustrates the hell out of opposing teams. Boasts effective and punishing tackles from the kick-off until the final siren; a guy that Melbourne will fall back on heavily in the final minutes of the game if a close contest is at hand

Michael Crocker
The firebrand is much more settled these days and his work rate around the ruck is of most value to the Storm. Another experienced man at the business end of the season; his ability to slow the ruck in defence and exploit holes from 1 out of the ruck in attack are impressive.

Jeff Lima
A brutal battering ram that played a valuable role in disposing of the Eels last week. Showed raw aggression in attack and could come into his own if this game turns into a drawn out physical affair

Jeremy Smith
Similar to Lima in that he plays a physical, power punch role from the bench. He is another player that is prone to give away a penalty, but being the final game of the year his chances of getting sent off for overly aggressive play are extremely low. Expect fireworks.

Matt Geyer
The old stager still has plenty of tricks in his kit bag. Has safe hands and does the little things right. His utility value is a massive boost for the injury riddled Storm and he will come into his own when injected from the bench

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