The NRL season is just weeks away and for the Melbourne Storm this offers a chance to have another shot at premiership glory.
After an unusually early start to the off season, the Storm have had a solid pre-season of training.
That much was evident upon the first sighting of the players at the contested training session with the Canterbury Bulldogs held Wednesday evening. This session just happened to co-incide with my bike ride home from work. Together with my mate and fellow Storm nut Stu, I dropped in and saw some drills followed by a game of touch footy.
Billy Slater missed the tri-nations last November, which is a huge bonus for the Storm, as he had his first full pre-season in many years.
Slater, together with Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk will once again form a formidable spine. We know what we will get from them, its the ability of the players around them to step up that will determine just how far the boys in purple can go.
A couple of players caught my eye in the short time I was at the training session. These players filled me with instant excitement about the season that kicks off on March 9th in Sydney against the St George-Illawarra Dragons.
Winger Marika Koroibete looks bigger than last season, an obviously benefit of a first pre-season under Craig Bellamy.
After an interrupted 2014 campaign, front rower Jordan McLean has grown bigger, towering over fellow prop Jesse Bromwich, which is no mean feat. He is tipped by many to claim a starting front row spot and its hard to argue against that.
Perhaps the biggest excitement was generated by little known Kiwi Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Yet to turn 19 and already 200 cm tall, weighing 115 kg (according to the Storm website), comparisons have been made to Sonny-Bill Williams.
I am inclined to liken him to Israel Falou, who stormed onto the scene in 2007 as a 17 year old.
His size, speed and ball handling was mighty impressive, at one stage holding the ball with one hand, almost hiding the ball. If he can jump, which I have no doubt he can, we may have something special on our hands.
If he has half the impact as Falou did in 2007, we could be in for a good season.