NRL Physio: Melbourne Storm injury profiles

NRL Physio shares his injury profiles of all the key members of the Melbourne Storm heading into the 2022 season.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

Written by NRL Physio

The Melbourne Storm will once again be the most relevant teams heading into the NRL SuperCoach season, with a host of serious options to consider.

However, many of their key contingent are coming off injury concerns of varying degrees from the prior year.

NRL Physio profiles each key player, including their current injury status, history and 2022 expectations.

For profiles on every club, jump across to his Patreon for invaluable insights to aid your SuperCoach decision making. Check it out here: 

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PlayerNelson Asofa-Solomona
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – left hamstring strain, concussion, sternum injury 2020 – calf strain, hamstring strain
2022 expectationsMultiple hamstring strains in the past 2 seasons + underdone preseason raises some concern for injury risk. Wouldn’t be going too hard for a guy who only came back to the club at the start of Feb
PlayerJesse Bromwich
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – elbow cleanout surgery 2020 – partial MCL tear 2019 – sternum injury
2022 expectationsElbow surgery is a quick turnaround, no increased concerns for 2022
PlayerKenny Bromwich
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – rib cartilage injury, hamstring strain 2020 – calf tear
2022 expectationsSimilar to NAS a few lower limb muscle strains could be a tiebreaker if you were tossing up KBrom or another player, but otherwise not much to consider here.
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PlayerXavier Coates
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – elbow hyperextension, minor hamstring strain, minor nerve traction injury 2020 – groin strain, cork, minor hamstring strain
2022 expectationsA few minor hamstring issues are something to look out for more with Coates compared to the 2 forwards above. Obviously his role involves repeated high speed efforts + explosive acceleration so hamstrings are put under more stress. Still the issues were only minor so only a not a significant consideration, once again mostly consider it a tiebreaker vs another player.
PlayerTom Eisenhuth
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – right elbow dislocation(no surgery), concussion, rib cartilage damage 2020 –  calf strain 2019 – fractured larynx
2022 expectationsMostly traumatic contact injuries, not much to cause increased concern moving forward.
PlayerHarry Grant
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – grade 1 hamstring strain (recurrence), major hamstring strain (referred to as “tear”), high grade left MCL 2020 – meniscus (minor surgery), wrist
2022 expectationsHamstring the obvious concern here. Was managed unexpectedly last season with an early return from the initial strain. Unfortunately suffered a re-injury but took time with rehab & went the rest of the season injury free. Well past the initial increased risk period (first 4 months post return) and will have had offseason to hone performance and hopefully “bulletproof” his hammys. Minimal injury risk consideration at this stage (similar to Tom Turbo at 1-2% increased risk) but if a hammy issue pops up during the season would be a rush to sell for me.
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PlayerJahrome Hughes
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – concussion, minor right calf “issue”, right calf cork, minor calf strain 2020 – minor groin, broken hand (surgery) 2019 – minor right knee medial sprain, back spasms, back injury (no specifics), concussion
2022 expectationsA few calf issues last season, and it was tough getting to the bottom of strain vs cork for a lot of them. This is valuable information as a cork is insignificant when charting future injury risk, whereas multiple strains can pose issues. At this stage not someone I’m discounting, if we consider the calf issues corks that he played through he could even improve his performance in 2022.
PlayerGeorge Jennings
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – left PCL + reaggravation, low grade hamstring, concussion 2019 – knee injury (no extra details)
2022 expectationsCame back early from his PCL injury & it showed, performance was down & suffered an aggravation. Will be something he has to manage moving forward but would expect performance trending more  towards pre-injury levels
PlayerTui Kamikamica
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – significant left calf strain 2020 – left ankle, bulging disc (surgery), hamstring strain 2019 – left knee injury
2022 expectationsAnother forward with a few lower limb muscle strains in the past few seasons. Slightly increased concern here with past lower back surgery, can contribute & increase risk of calf/hammy issues moving forward. Have a small discount on his price for 2022 considering this
PlayerFelise Kaufusi
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2020 – minor knee swelling 2019 – concussion, rib injury
2022 expectationsKnee swelling possibly due to ongoing cartilage issue he is managing, but no concrete reports on that. Otherwise no significant injury considerations
PlayerNick Meaney
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – concussion, rib fracture 2020 – hamstring strain 2019 – severe finger laceration
2022 expectationsA few traumatic contact injuries last season, but no pattern there.
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PlayerCameron Munster
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – knee laceration + infection, Lisfranc injury 2020 – concussion, minor right MCL re-injury, right MCL re-injury, right MCL 2019 – neural neck issue
2022 expectationsPlayed through Lisfranc injury in 2021 and recurring MCL injury in 2020. Lisfranc injuries notorious for lingering symptoms and limiting performance, so evidence is there that if Munster can stay injury free he could be in for an uptick in performance/output. No real pattern to his injuries either that would suggest an increased risk moving forward
PlayerJustin Olam
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2020 – minor ankle sprain 2019 – hamstring injury
2022 expectations 
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PlayerRyan Papenhuyzen
Current statusBuilding back to full training after ankle sprain
Injury history2022 – minor lateral ankle sprain 2021 – concussion + neck issues (prolonged symptoms), grade 2 AC joint, neck injury 2020 – left calf strain, achilles 2019 – concussion (prolonged symptoms) + chin laceration, midfoot sprain
2022 expectationsMinor ankle sprain in mid January but of no implication for Round 1. Concussion the only real concern here.   The risk for persistent concussion symptoms is approximately 10% in a player who is suffering a first time concussion, or who has not experienced persistent symptoms from a past concussion. But in someone with Papenhuyzen’s concussion history the evidence points to a 30% risk of suffering persistent symptoms, and therefore requiring a prolonged recovery, if he suffers another concussion.   There were 4.5 concussions per Round in the NRL last season, so globally Papenhuyzen’s risk of concussion should be considered low. But we have seen players with multi-concussion histories have a lower “threshold” for future issues (ie doesn’t take as traumatic a blow to cause a concussion). The tough part about assessing player health in regards to concussion is each case is so unique, so it is difficult to point to other similar cases and think this will be how Papenhuyzen will respond to future head knocks.   Overall I do approach Papenhuyzen with some caution considering the unpredictability of concussions, but it won’t be enough to stop me from buying him in classic or drafting him in the first 5 picks in draft considering his upside. Another case of a player in classic who I would rather start with and only have to burn 1 trade if he has concussion issues, rather than bringing him in after a few weeks and then needing to use a 2nd trade to get him out.
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PlayerBrandon Smith
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – concussion, shoulder injury, concussion + facial swelling, calf cork 2020 – jaw fracture (surgery), facial fracture (no surgery) 2019 – ankle sprain, calf strain, cellulitis
2022 expectationsOne guy I argue has a slightly increased injury risk due to his playing style. I’m not sure he has any self preservation! Flies into collisions at 100 miles an hour, and this can result in some nasty contact injuries (concussions/facial fractures). Not a massive negative against him health wise, as contact injuries are largely luck related. But if Smith keeps up his explosive playing style (which is so much of what makes him a great player) this season I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss a few weeks with a contact injury or two.
PlayerReimis Smith
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – minor left ankle sprain
2022 expectations 
PlayerChristian Welch
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – concussion, knee swelling, concussion 2020 – concussion 2019 – right ACL, left meniscus
2022 expectationsAlmost a carbon copy for the Papenhuyzen analysis, with concussion the main concern & the unpredictability around this making it tough to predict his injury risk in 2022. The difference here is that Welch (as far as we know) has not dealt with persistent symptoms and it is more the sheer number (3 in the past 2 seasons) that brings concern moving forward. The evidence suggests he is at 2-3X more risk to suffer a future concussion, with his threshold for a concussive blow possibly being lowered (lesser blow could still cause a concussion). Once again I am baking some injury risk into his 2022 outlook, but considering the absence of persistent symptoms thus far I wouldn’t slide him down your ranks much.

For profiles on every club, jump across to NRL Physio’s Patreon for invaluable insights to aid your SuperCoach decision making. Check it out here: 

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