Storm look to regenerate squad in 2015
In the aftermath of the 2014 NRL season there is still a bitter taste that lingers for those at AAMI Park.
Following a second-consecutive winless finals campaign, Melbourne now face a long summer ahead, ruing what may have been.
Patchy form for much of the season saw the Storm battle to an 8-8 record after Round 18 before a late-season charge saw them finish in sixth position with 14 wins.
But it was that dismal elimination final performance against the Bulldogs that saw them picked apart in a 28-4 loss, which still has those in purple scratching their heads.
It was the Storm’s biggest loss in a final since the 2008 decider and one the club sees as encompassing of the entire 2014 campaign.
“There is definitely a sense of disappointment on the way we finished the season,” said Storm football director Frank Ponissi.
“It was just a very inconsistent season for us and what we call un-Storm like. If we look at the season in two thirds, the first two were really inconsistent, but taking away the last game we were really pleased with the last third.
“What was disappointing in that last game was that we thought we had turned it around.”
This off-season the club will see several players move on, most notably favourite son Ryan Hoffman and leading try-scorer Sisa Waqa.
Tim Glasby (Cowboys), Mitch Garbutt (Broncos), Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), Ben Roberts & Junior Moors (Castleford Tigers) will also leave Melbourne.
Last week the Storm signed exiting fullback Cameron Munster to the full-time squad as well as Christian Welch, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Suliasi Vunivalu and Dean Britt from this year’s under-20s squad.
The winds of change may be sweeping through the club but that is nothing new in the eyes of Storm management.
“It is the one thing we have become accustomed to. The greatest turnover of players the club has ever had was in 2010, post the salary cap year and we responded by becoming minor premiers the following season,” said Ponissi.
“It’s just the nature of the game at the moment… the key is not who you lose but how you replace them.”
“There were eight players who made their debuts in 2013 and I think now a lot of them are getting towards 25-50 games and we’re hoping they can go to another level. “
For a club so accustomed to success for over a decade now, they will be desperate to overturn their finals fortune and reclaim their place as an NRL powerhouse in 2015.