Cameron Smith backed for 2018 Dally M as he leads Melbourne Stormís next generationPosted on 02/01 by Joe Gann
A new era begins at the Melbourne Storm, with a familiar face leading the way.
Weekly Expert Betting Tips - Join our free mailing listFor a man who has achieved virtually everything the game has to offer, it would seem that few challenges remain for Storm skipper Cameron Smith to conquer. However, the prospect of claiming back-to-back crowns is the one accomplishment missing from his stellar resume. The 2018 season offers, in all probability, the last chance for the veteran hooker to attain this particular goal; the upcoming campaign also throws up the prospect of a step into the unknown for the most capped player in the history of the sport.
With Cooper Cronk departed to the Sydney Roosters, and with that, the end of the so-called Ďbig threeí, next season will have an unfamiliar look at AAMI Park. The opening match against the Bulldogs on March 10 will introduce a new chapter at the club, and the slight air of uncertainty surrounding the new look squad has seen the Premiers pushed out to $6.50 third-favourites for next yearís title behind the Roosters and Cowboys.
His leadership qualities as captain of Australia, Queensland and Melbourne Storm will be required at club level most of all as he shoulders the responsibility of helping the next generation of Storm players fulfil their undoubted potential. The addition of Sam Kasiano and the returning Ryan Hoffman will aid him in his task; both signings are shrewd moves by coach Craig Bellamy to offset the loss of not only Cronkís experience but Tohu Harris, Jordan McLean and Nate Myles who have all exited the club.
With the likes of Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Billy Slater and a squad buoyed by the invaluable experience of a Premiership success under their belt, the squad make-up seems as impressive as ever. The club appears to be in a strong position to defend their title, despite the threat of the Sydney Roosters, who has emerged as a major threat to Stormís chances of retaining their crown following an off-season dominated by some headline-grabbing signings.
However, an ingrained winning mentality that has been woven into the fabric of the club by Bellamy, who will be leading the Melbourne outfit for the 16th consecutive season in 2018. Following a dominant 2017, it would be a shock if the Storm is not fighting to make it three Minor Premierships in a row next year; with Smith at the forefront of the quest for yet more glory for the club.
Cameron Smith is $9.00 joint-favourite for the 2018 Dally M alongside Jason Taumalolo of the North Queensland Cowboys.
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