Olam warming to task

Sports

PETER Sterling, one of the all-time great halfbacks in Australia’s National Rugby League, has praised the emergence of Papua New Guinea Kumuls flyer Justin Olam at the Melbourne Storm.
Prior to the Storm’s 26-16 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs last weekend in which Olam scored a try before being taken off the field after suffering a suspected broken nose, Sterling was full of praise for the SP Hunters product and ladder leaders Melbourne.
“This is a team that have lost just three matches all season by a combined total of four points, with two of those losses coming in golden point,” said Sterling, a major contributor to the Parramatta Eels’ dominance in the 1980s
“They sit six points clear of the rest of the field and are the only club to have scored more than 500 points.”
The 59-year-old commentator, nicknamed Sterlo, was particularly impressed with Olam and the rest of the Storm in their 40-4 demolition of the Broncos in Brisbane less than two weeks ago.
“They began with their favourite ploy of shifting the ball wide to put spacings between the opposition defenders,” he said.
“When this has been achieved, they then look to play shorter and flatter to their big men to take advantage of the stretched defensive line. No one reads when this transition is ready to take place more astutely and ruthlessly than Cameron Smith.
“What was also evident is that the Storm players are still learning and getting better. The shining example has been the emergence of left centre Justin Olam.
“This Papua New Guinean is fire and brimstone. In possession, he wants to run straight over or through you; in defence, there is no self-preservation in his physical approach.
“Subtlety is not his strong suit, but his involvement in Kenny Bromwich’s second try was an insight as to how much time and repetition is undertaken by the Storm on the training paddock.
“To receive the ball on an outside-in run, going back to where the ball was delivered and then to swivel the body to pass to Bromwich on a reverse angle at speed, is an extremely difficult move to get right, especially when you are not a natural ball-player.
“It only comes from practice upon practice to make the complicated look comfortable.
“Along with Olam, Dale Finucane and Kenny Bromwich are in career best form, Nelson Asofa-Solomona is showing more consistency and Ryan Papenhuyzen is a huge threat.” – SMH

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