Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Flying winger Suliasi Vunivalu has today agreed to terms on a new deal with Storm, keeping him in the purple jersey until at least the end of 2018.
One of the game's most exciting finishers, the 21-year old, finished on top of the try-scorers list in his debut NRL season, scoring 23 in his 23 games.
2016 was a meteoric rise for Vunivalu who had only played 30 games of rugby league before making his NRL debut in Round 7 2016. scoring a double in a thrilling golden point win.
He repeated his feat in each of the next two games and extended his run to make it 13 tries in the first eight games. He also scored five doubles, two hat-tricks, bagged four against Manly in Round 24 and played in his maiden Grand Final against.
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Born in Fiji, Vunivalu moved to New Zealand at 16 to play rugby at one of Auckland's most prestigious schools. He was spotted by Storm recruitment staff and made the move to Melbourne to pursue rugby league. In 2014 he played eight under-20s games and then progressed to the Queensland Cup, where he played 15 games last season.
Just one of the many success stories of Storm's 2016 season, Storm Football Director Frank Ponissi said, "We are thrilled to have Suli recommit to the Club for another season.
"He had an outstanding 2016 for a player in his rookie NRL season - not only to finish as the competition's leading try-scorer but to also play in our Grand Final side.
"Suli is a wonderful athlete and a smart player who is looking forward to the challenge of going into his second season with a focus on continuing to improve his game."