After five rounds of the 2017 Telstra NRL Premiership competition, only the Melbourne Storm has yet to be beaten, but the St. George Illawarra Dragons have exceeded expectations and occupy the rung directly beneath the Storm.
The Sydney Roosters, and North Queensland Cowboys also have 4 – 1 records, so the competition is tight at the top.
Last year’s premiers, the Cronulla Sharks, have been beaten twice. The ladder from that point, positions seven through 16 is mostly a case of unrealised expectations coming to fruition as futility abounds, although there are no teams that have not won at least once.
For the Storm, the future is sunny, as they will go into their game with Cronulla with the expectation that they will regain the services of Jordan McLean and Christian Welch, adding to the already strong defense the Storm has mounted thus far in 2017.
It will be a 2016 Grand Final rematch at AAMI Park and the Storm would like nothing better than to extract revenge for last year’s Grand Final loss to the Sharks.
McLean and Welch were actually available to play last week, but with a concussion in the case of Welch and a strained calf hindering McLean, the Sharks took a conservative approach and made the decision to give them some extra time to mend, which could threaten the Sharks with a .500 record after the sixth round.