NRL Grand Final: Salary cap denials have you feeling Blue and White?
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Seven players head into the NRL grand final with redemption in purple on their minds.
Billy Slater, Dane Nielsen, Will Chambers, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Ryan Hoffman and Ryan Hinchcliffe played in one or both of the two premierships ripped from their grasp in 2010.
It must’ve been a slightly strange existence since that time, not only for those players, but for their team-mates who are no longer in Melbourne with them.
Those who competed in the 2007 and 2009 deciders feel like premiers and champions.
Ask them and they’ll tell you that they still are.
They did the hard work during the year, lifted the trophy at the end of it, celebrated hard and have a premiership ring in safe keeping.
They don’t care what other people think and try to think even less about the moment when everything they worked for was taken away.
The only problem is that the history books provide a constant reminder.
Flick through the NRL media guide and there’s either an asterisk or the words ‘withdrawn’ next to all of the clubs recent achievements.
It’s a theme repeated in every NRL annual review or preview guide at the start of the year.
The players have been force fed their medicine and the bitter taste continues to linger.
Every question is now met with a refusal to accept what the history books reflect.
It’s an attitude that has the potential to confuse, even deter fans from willing Melbourne to win.
The club breached the cap while others played by the rules and the NRL determined that the penalty should be the harshest the modern game has seen.
A refusal to accept that, while understandable from the players point of view, is a little like telling the man on the street that grass is blue and the sky is green.
It’s just not the case, no matter how hard you want it to be.
So, if you’re a neutral, has this attitude got you cheering for the blue and white brigade on Sunday?
The current management team at the Storm, led by chief executive Ron Gauci, have done a sensational job in getting the club past what many saw as a terminal penalty.
Still, it’s highly likely that this week you’ll hear one of those seven players say that they’re still a premiership winner.
Will that change how you vote on Sunday?
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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