Billy Slater has warned those canceling the Melbourne Storm to proceed with caution despite an offseason of upheaval.
It should be something of a new Storm team in 2022 after the exits of star trio Nicho Hynes, Josh Addo-Carr and Dale Finucane.
However, despite the turnover, Slater says his former club will still be a force to be reckoned with in the coming season.
READ MORE: Ben Simmons opens up on ‘dark times’ after messy 76ers exit
READ MORE: Tears as Russian Olympian returns to competition after doping controversy
READ MORE: F1 star hired bodyguards after Abu Dhabi fiasco
“Obviously the Melbourne Storm have lost a few players over the summer in Nicho Hynes, Finucane, Josh Addo-Carr and others, but they still have quality staff,” Slater told Nine’s. Today.
“You look at their spine in Harry (Grant) and (Cameron) Munster, Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen.
“Anyone willing to call off the storm will have to do so with a bit of caution.”
Grant is emerging as a major key to the Storm’s future, particularly with star hooker Brandon Smith in his final season with the club after signing with the Roosters from 2023.
The 23-year-old is one of many players to have worked under legendary Storm head coach Craig Bellamy.
While Bellamy has become renowned for being a fiery client during his 19-year coaching career, Grant has revealed another side to the master tactician.
“He’s certainly mellowed a bit with his advancing age. He has a few grandkids who mellowed him,” he said with a laugh.
“He’s been really good, he’s really focused and he’s got his eyes on something. He’s been doing a great job of helping a lot of us youngsters, just encouraging us to be better.
“I know a lot of people try to be better every day and that’s something a lot of us players strive for.”
Grant and the Storm will kick off their 2022 campaign with a first-round clash against the Wests Tigers on March 12.
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
Magical moments in pictures: every Australian medalist in Winter Olympics history