You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Storm back-rower Felise Kaufusi.

The Storm's roster reshuffling may well extend beyond potential releases for Will Chambers and Brodie Croft, with 10 of Craig Bellamy's side this weekend able to hit the open market on November 1.

Should Melbourne get past the Roosters on Saturday night they will qualify for their fourth straight grand final, to be followed by an annual retention battle kicking off when players can officially field rival offers.

Along with Chambers, Kiwi internationals Jesse and Kenny Bromwich and Suliasi Vunivalu, Kangaroos back-rower Felise Kaufusi and rising rookies Ryan Papenhuyzen and Justin Olam all come off contract at the end of 2020.

Joining these regular starters are bench forwards Tui Kamikamica and Max King and injured Queensland prop Christian Welch, who are potential free agents come the start of November while evergreen icon Cameron Smith's contract also runs out next year.

Every club in the NRL has big names coming into free agency in a little more than a month's time, but the Storm's list of top-notch talent leads the way along with the Roosters and Brisbane.

Bellamy confirmed on Friday that he would consider an early release for out-of-favour Croft, who was photographed meeting with Broncos coach Anthony Seibold despite being contracted to Melbourne for 2020 and having an option in his favour the following year.

Bellamy open to Croft leaving the Storm

"That's a decision that will be made down the track, I suppose," Bellamy said.

"I don't know. It's been a tough situation for Brodie too. He played 20-odd games and then was left out of the side so I understand where he's coming from too.

"At the end of the day if he wants to travel further down that line we'll sit down and talk about it.

"We want to wait until the end of the season to deal with that."

The Storm have put all contract negotiations on hold until season's end, but have long built their rosters around a core of priority players – for over a decade that was Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater – and then retained as many key figures as possible around them.

The club's success has endured despite losing rep players including Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris, Jordan McLean and Cronk in recent years. 

Their next reincarnation looms as no different.

As reported by two weeks ago, Melbourne have made re-signing Papenhuyzen their No.1 priority and intend to lock him in before November 1 with a three- or four-year deal.

The Bromwich brothers are also key figures at the club and obvious candidates for extensions, while Kaufusi also has a two-year player option beyond 2020 in his favour.

Elsewhere the club has Cameron Munster and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (2023), Brandon Smith (2022), Dale Finucane, Josh Addo-Carr and Jahrome Hughes (2021) on their books long-term as their key building blocks.

But the openness to releasing Croft and Chambers as European rugby circles point to the delicate manoeuvring at hand for the minor premiers.

Also coming into consideration is the big money being discussed by rival clubs around 197-cm rookie Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, who is understood to have been offered a new three-year deal by Melbourne in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Smith's future will also dictate the shape of their salary cap given the 36-year-old hooker is showing no signs of slowing down.

Papenhuyzen's crazy dream

Kaufusi is yet to move on his options beyond next year but backed Bellamy to continue Melbourne's remarkable regeneration.

The representative forward spurned an offer from South Sydney when he was off contract last year for that exact reason.

"I've had some success here and that obviously helps," Kaufusi told

"It's not just that though, you look at our roster and the players that you're playing around and then being coached by Craig.

"I think the club's handled that turnover so well, they've created depth and been able to bring players through.

"Cooper Cronk left and people wondered who would fill that spot, Billy Slater left and it was the same thing.

"But we've had the depth in our squad to keep going. If, or when, who knows when Cam retires, hopefully it'll be the same with that role too.

"But every day I train and play with Cameron Smith - the GOAT. I'm trying to absorb as much as I can. As long as he's here and Craig's coaching that's enough for me to say this is the best place to play my footy and get that footy education."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners