The Melbourne Storm are great, not boring

Ryan O'Connell Columnist

By Ryan O'Connell, Ryan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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106 Have your say

    The Melbourne Storm ran roughshod over the North Queensland Cowboys in Sunday night’s NRL grand final, capping off a season of absolute dominance with an exclamation mark.

    The Storm were the best team in 2017 from start to finish, only losing four games all year. They scored the most points in the NRL, and allowed the fewest, meaning they were the best attacking and defensive team in the competition. Then they stormed – pardon the pun – home to the premiership by winning the preliminary final 30-0, and the grand final 34-6.

    Such absolute domination can lead to certain fans feeling a little bored. Those who crave parity, competition and close games wouldn’t have enjoyed the predictability of Sunday’s, and the season’s, result.

    Yet there remained another narrative, that the Storm themselves were somehow boring as well; a sentiment that surfaced again as they were crowned premiers on Sunday.

    It’s an opinion that bemuses me, as I struggle to understand how anyone could find Melbourne’s style of football boring. I think they’re the most exciting team in the competition, and I suspect much of the criticism that comes their way is simply because many people don’t like them.

    Not liking the Storm, I can understand, even if I personally have no issue with them.

    For many, they’ll always be the upstarts from a non-rugby league town, and the parochial nature within a lot of Australian’s psyches ensures they’ll never warm to the Storm because of it. I don’t agree with it, but I get it.

    For others, Melbourne’s chequered past when it comes to cheating the salary cap – and being stripped of two of their premierships – is too big of a hurdle to overcome in the likability sweepstakes, and again, I can appreciate that.

    NSW fans have been on the wrong end of an historic State of Origin dynasty, and some of Queensland’s chief architects in that supremacy are Melbourne’s spine of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk. Needless to say, that doesn’t exactly endear the Storm to the majority of New South Welshmen.

    Then there are those individuals who dislike Melbourne simply because they win a lot, while their own team – conversely – does not.

    All are valid reasons to give the men in purple a stink eye.

    However, when someone raises the point that Melbourne are boring, I have to call a time-out, and delve a little deeper into that viewpoint. Once you do, the words ‘clinical’, ‘robotic’, ‘structured’, ‘methodical’, ‘wrestling’, ‘grubby’ and ‘cheats’ invariably come out.

    You can essentially break those words into two distinct camps.

    ‘Wrestling’, ‘grubby’ and ‘cheats’ falls into a category I would call ‘rugby league’, in that I think you could level those charges against every single team in the NRL.

    I don’t think Melbourne are outliers in any of those departments, it’s just that the aforementioned reasons for people not to like the Storm ensures fans see what they want to see when watching Melbourne play. It’s a case of confirmation bias to suggest the Storm are the only team that wrestle, or do grubby things on the field, or give away tactical penalties.

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    If you look for those things, you’ll find them in every rugby league game, and people certainly want to find them when watching the Storm.

    In the other camp lies the words ‘clinical’, ‘robotic’, ‘structured’ and ‘methodical’, and this is where you could argue things get subjective or down to personal taste.

    Much of this criticism is thinly veiled at Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.

    I actually love the brilliant execution of Cronk at halfback. He may not be as flashy as other number 7s, but he’s a lot more effective and successful. He’s far less likely to throw a no-look flick pass, but he almost always calls the right play at the exact right time. He’s measured, thoughtful and precise, and that comes with it’s own appeal.

    Likewise, Smith is more workhorse than showpony. While other hookers may dart from dummy-half with blistering pace, or move to first-receiver and consider themselves a playmaker with flair, Smith concentrates on getting through a lot of work, limiting his mistakes, and playing a cerebral game to beat his opponents.

    Neither may show up regularly in rugby league’s highlight reels, but neither will they care. They’d much prefer to be on the honour boards, and that’s exactly where they’ll be. Smith will leave the game as the best hooker – and arguably the best player – to have ever laced up a pair of boots, and Cronk will be mentioned among the best halfbacks.

    I don’t find the play of either of them boring whatsoever, but if you do, that’s your prerogative.

    What I can’t understand is finding the rest of the Storm roster boring.

    The brilliance and class of Billy Slater, Cameron Munster and Will Chambers qualifies them among the most exciting players in the competition. Wingers Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu scored 21 and 23 tries respectively this season. Meanwhile, forwards are rarely flashy anyway, but Tohu Harris, Jesse Bromwich, Jordan McLean, Dale Finucane and Felise Kaufusi formed a formidable and impressive forward pack that terrorised opponents all year long.

    Billy Slater Melbourne Storm NRL Rugby League Grand Final 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    There was nothing boring about these guys, and I fear any judgment of that sort comes through heavily tinted glasses. Not of the rose-coloured variety either.

    It seems Melbourne will always have to overcome some baggage in order to get some credit or praise.

    As a case in point, Gus Gould – still heavily respected in some rugby league circles – labelled the Storm ‘overrated’ in the lead up to the grand final. Considering the Storm made the grand final last year, were six-point clear minor premiers this season, only lost four games, and were coming off a 30-0 drubbing of the Brisbane Broncos to qualify for the grand final, it was a stupid comment that, sadly, is now becoming Gould’s speciality.

    It was made to look even worse at the end of Sunday’s game, and it was the type of comment that has to be put down to irrational dislike, because you couldn’t make it under any pretence of rational thought.

    So, rationally thinking, are the Storm overrated? Robotic? Boring?

    No. They’re just great.

    Ryan O
    Ryan O'Connell

    Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.

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    The Crowd Says (106)

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 7:14am
      MH01 said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Meh. That was a boring GF. I don’t watch much league , but the storm are not exactly entertaining

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 7:41am
        Peter Phelps said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

        So why are you here ?

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:17am
        Jimmmy said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Meh, I don’t watch much Union, that’s why I don’t comment on it.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:24pm
        Adam Bagnall said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        the fact you don’t watch much league renders your comment a waste of time for all, and labelling the Storm not exactly entertaining shows your lack of knowledge of the game, they are one of the most entertaining teams in the NRL

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:52pm
          MH01 said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

          I actually got back into watching the raiders last year cause it was entertaining and frankly union is dying a slow death in Australia . I grew up watching both codes and always watch the NRL finals, living as an expat in U.K. The game times are not exactly favourable . I also watched the AFL grand final, was also meh….. guess I should not have an opinion as I don’t follow the code week in and week out?

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 4:41pm
        Chook said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

        Couldn’t agree more

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 7:25am
      Duncan Smith said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      A clear sighted article on Melbourne and the lack of objectivity of the average rugby league fan.

      Trust me, every fan wishes they had a back three as boring as Slater, Vunivalu, and Addo-Carr.

      • Roar Guru

        October 3rd 2017 @ 7:34am
        The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        I’d also suggest some Melbourne fans don’t necessarily help the cause…

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:06am
          Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          A bit too well-behaved? Maybe they should become more like Canterbury fans?

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 6:17pm
            Ryan O'Connell said | October 3rd 2017 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

            You want more people like me? Really?

    • Roar Guru

      October 3rd 2017 @ 7:32am
      The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      I agree Ryan.

      Storm sides in the past have been guilty of laying it on thick with wrestling and boring play but not this team.

      I think their execution is brilliant to watch. There were a couple of games in particular this regular season where they were devastating. Against the Broncos and Cowboys they were absolutely slick and a joy to watch.

      There was a moment early in the grand final that summed up Cronk for me. The Storm were going to the right, they had numbers but were running across field until the ball got to Cronk. He did a little step off his right foot, which straightened the attack and stopped the Cowboys defenders sliding. As his opponent came in to make the tackle, he veered back right and gave the ball to his support player on that side, who suddenly had a bit of room to move in.

      It will never make a highlight reel but it was stunningly simple. Not a lot of halves would have done it. He would have had the ball in his hand for less than two seconds but completely changed the Storms attacking line and the Cowboys defensive pattern.

      It was great seeing the ‘big 3’ combining for a try at the end of the game too. A nice little farewell.

      They’ve led to some predictability in results this season which I guess can be boring. But their performance and execution is far from it.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 3rd 2017 @ 9:47am
        Don said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        I think the word “execution” is the one that separates Melbourne from the rest this year.
        We have seen some fantastic attacking footy from them and they’ve been a real joy to watch IMO.

        If other sides scored some of the tries Melbourne have this season we’d be hearing how they are the new “entertainers.” But because of who the Storm have in the squad we hear about how those players controlled the play.

        The difference is that the Storm never look like they are playing “loose” or ad lib footy.
        Plus, they execute their set plays at a far greater speed than most sides.

        I’ve enjoyed watching the Storm more than any other side this year.
        Here’s hoping a few coaches try to add the speed to their attack that the Storm have done. The NRL will be better for it.

        • Roar Guru

          October 3rd 2017 @ 10:14am
          The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          Agreed Don.

          The Cowboys game I was referring to had two Slater tries scored before halftime where the Storm had multiple players running multiple decoy lines with Slater coming round the back and having the ball delivered millimetres outside the decoy runners shoulder.

          They were plays that were executed at full pace, the ball playing done close to the line and executed with the tiniest margins for error.

          It was brilliant.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 3rd 2017 @ 1:02pm
            Don said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

            The closest comparison I can make with the way the Storm run their set plays with all the men in motion is the NFL. But the Storm call most of theirs as “audibles” on the run..,

            Smith and Cronk play quarterback selecting the best options. Just without the forward passing…

            • Roar Guru

              October 3rd 2017 @ 2:01pm
              The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

              Good point again.

              You see teams run decoy plays where the decoys are just that and are never in s position to get the ball – the Bulldogs spring to mind

              The Storm rarely do that their decoys are usually in positions where Smith and Cronk can hit them if they need to or go out the back to Slater.

              Makes them infinitely more dangerous.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 2:23pm
              Jimbob said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

              Comparisons to NFL won’t help your argument at all.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 3rd 2017 @ 2:58pm
                Don said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

                I didn’t think I was making an argument? Just an opinion…

                And whilst not being an NFL disciple, I can appreciate how amazing the quarterbacks are and also how much Jason Taumalolo in traffic reminds me of the very good “rushing” NFL running backs.

              • Columnist

                October 3rd 2017 @ 6:22pm
                Ryan O'Connell said | October 3rd 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report


    • October 3rd 2017 @ 7:36am
      Raugeee said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      Expect to see a few Storm players in the Kangaroo teams that play in the RLWC. My 17 from the squad “leaked” to Fox.
      1. Slater 2. Gagai 3. Chambers 4. Munster 5. Holmes 6. Morgan 7. Cronk. 8. Klemmer 9. Smith 10. Fifita 1. Gillett 12. Cordner 13. McGuire 14. Frizell 15. J.Trbojevic 16. Kaufusi 17. Hunt. That’s 6 Storm players in total. Pretty huge.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 5:00pm
        matth said | October 3rd 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

        I think you’ll find they get Woods in there somewhere, but I also think that McLean is a chance on the bench. If they want to play the QLD structure from SOO3 and switch Morgan to the centres for Munster then Melbourne will have the Australian spine. Scary.

    • Roar Guru

      October 3rd 2017 @ 7:39am
      Con Scortis said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

      Don’t worry about it Ryan. The Storm haters won’t change. Even if they tried. Even if they wanted to.

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:00am
      Peter Phelps said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      Melbourne Storm

      1 st in the Finals
      1st in the regular season
      4th highest memberships
      5th highest average gates

      Much of the negativity (and yes hate) directed at the Storm seems to come from many Sydney based fans who seem to believe that Sydney/NSW has some given right beamed down from heaven to all things RL. They still begrudge Victoria having a team at all and are absolutely dismayed that the venture hasn’t crashed and burned long before now. They even begrudge acknowledging that other state that is interested in the sport and hate the fact that their beloved “traditional” clubs simply aren’t good enough to compete. In Origin, their state is constantly reminded that they don’t produce the best players any more and haven’t done for a very long time. The bemoan the fact that there is no Sydney club in the GF as if there was some law some where indelibly written into the sport’s constitution. When their clubs are involved in finals action they blame traffic, large stadiums and pricing for poor crowds.

      Its high time that we woke up to reality and recognised that RL in this country is no longer about NSW. We need to cull the number of Sydney clubs commensurate with support (here’s looking at you Manly) and expanding to become truly national. Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane 2 and maybe even somewhere like Geelong may be where the future of our sport lies.

      The whinging against the Storm may be nothing more than a gut realisation that Sydney’s influence on the sport is in decline.

      • Roar Guru

        October 3rd 2017 @ 8:32am
        The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        Do you not see the hypocracy of what you’ve just written?

        You complain about this mythical bunch of ‘haters’ picking on the Storm and then launch into Sydney / NSW fans with every bigoted cliche and half truth there is.

        Then wonder why NSW fans respond. And on we go.

        I think you’ll find that the ‘average’ Sydney / NSW fan concerns themselves with what’s happening at the Storm far less than you think.

        I’m sure there’s a element of Sydney / NSW fans that are irrationally feral about the Storm. But guess what? There’s an element that’s irrational about the Bulldogs, or Manly, the Roosters, the Broncos and so on.

        And guess what? There’s an element of Storm fans that are irrational about Sydney and NSW.

        But that’s footy. I don’t hear anyone carrying on about ‘haters’ like the Storm fans do.

        Anyway, congrats on the grand final victory. The Storm were far and away the best team all year and thoroughly deserved their win.

        • Roar Guru

          October 3rd 2017 @ 8:54am
          Will Sinclair said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Very true Baz – I hate the Storm with a passion, but still cheered for them to beat the Bulldogs in 2012. If the Roosters had been playing on Sunday night, I would have happily cheered for the Storm again.

          Those league fans outside Sydney will never understand that their shiny new clubs will NEVER provoke the same passion that we Sydney league fans feel towards our own clubs and their immediate and traditional rivals.

          Sorry guys, but you’re just not important enough to generate any real hatred.

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:00am
            Peter Phelps said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

            In the last month, we got an entire Roar article written on why they hate the Storm. Name one other club that has ever had an article written on why they are hated.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 3rd 2017 @ 11:45am
              Hard Yards said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

              Don’t take it too much to heart Peter. I’ve been a Sea Eagles supporter for 70 years and am at peace with the aggravation directed at Brookie. The Storm have only been around for 20 years. Give it another 20 years old son and the barbs will slide like water off a duck’s back. When you’re successful the hyenas come at you from out of the night. Take it as a compliment.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 2:57pm
              Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

              The Storm are hated because they are too bloody good – plain and simple – much like Queensland in state of origin. And the scary thing for the rest of the comp is Smith and Slater will be back again next year. The big difference to the Storm this year is the return of Billy Slater. His ability to back up and create a line break is second to none. And players all over the ground such as Ado-Carr, Vunivalu, Kafusi and Asofa-Solomona have become better and better over the season due to the consistency of their playmakers in Smith and Cronk. I used to hate the Storm due to their wrestling tactics and lying all over the player in the play the ball but they seem to have moved on from that. The back 3 plus Chambers are as good as any backs going around and you just have to marvel at the Way Smith and Cronk have directed the team. If there is one Storm player I’m not overly impressed with as other appear to be its Munster. He seems to be a very selfish player. Loves to just hold on to the ball and stand in tackles, push people away and wander all over the field. I’d hate to be running in support of him as you’d rarely get the ball. He has the potential to be a very good player but still has a lot of work to do on his game.

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:06am
            Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            I’m sorry, but Sydneysiders are way too well-known for changing NRL teams a few times in their life. No Melburnian could fathom doing this no matter what football code they were following.

            It will be a long time before the words “Sydney” and “passion for sport” belong in the same sentence.

            • Roar Guru

              October 3rd 2017 @ 9:17am
              Will Sinclair said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

              I’m sorry, but Sydneysiders are way too well-known for changing NRL teams a few times in their life.

              Gee, I wish I’d known this 30 years ago! Would have saved me a lot of heartache!

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 9:37am
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

                It’s an outrageous comment.

                I don’t know a single person who has switched teams once, let alone “a few times”

                Although Will you switched from Balmain to Wests Tigers…?

                Maybe he’s on to something after all.

            • Roar Guru

              October 3rd 2017 @ 9:40am
              The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

              So on one hand Sydneysiders are too parachial and one eyed.

              But on the other they lack passion.

              It’s confusing.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:44am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

                Tony Greig and Kerry Packer. Each changed twice.

                When did I say they were too parochial or one-eyed?

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 10:08am
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                Tony Greig? You mean the South African born English cricketer?

                That’s who you’re holding up as the typical Sydney rugby league fan…?

                That’s amazing!

                I’m convinced.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 10:36am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                I guess you won’t accept anyone as the typical Sydney Rugby League fan unless they stay true to the one team all their life.

                That eliminates a large portion of those who follow the game.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 10:53am
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

                I’m open to the idea.

                I’ve lived in Sydney all my life and I don’t know anyone who has changed teams.

                So if you want to convince me (or anyone else) you need to come up with a bit stronger evidence than a billionaire whose support aligned with his business interests and a South African Englishman who played a different sport as being representative of an ‘average’ Sydney rugby league fan.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:07am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                Whether Tony Greig is average or not is beside the point. The fact that it happens at all is what makes Sydneysiders softer than Melburnians.

                I could also tell you that my Sydney-based sister has changed teams, but that’s getting a bit personal.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 11:14am
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                It’s not beside the point at all.

                Now you’re calling Sydneysiders soft because a South African English cricketer changed teams!

                It’s outrageous.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:21pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                Kerry Packer is not a South African English cricketer.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 12:41pm
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                No, he’s a dead billionaire media mogul who had financial interests in several different clubs.

                Again, not exactly the typical Sydney rugby league fan.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 12:46pm
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report


                May be a little more common to change teams in Melbourne than you think…

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:22pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

                Describe a typical Sydney rugby league fan.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 1:45pm
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                No, you’re right. South African English cricketers and billionaire media moguls pretty much sums us all up.

                You’re the one making the statements that Sydneysiders are well known for changing sides several times in their life.

                Why are you asking me?

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 2:20pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

                “Why are you asking me?”

                Because you claim to have a better idea than me.

              • Columnist

                October 3rd 2017 @ 3:15pm
                Ryan O'Connell said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

                It’s ridiculous to suggest Sydney-siders change teams. Literally have never met one person that has.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 3:34pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                “It’s ridiculous to suggest Sydney-siders change teams. Literally have never met one person that has”

                Give me your phone number. I’ll hook you up with some.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 4:39pm
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                No thanks.

              • Columnist

                October 3rd 2017 @ 5:20pm
                Ryan O'Connell said | October 3rd 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

                So you know “some”?

                That’s a long, long way from “Sydneysiders are way too well-known for changing NRL teams”.

              • October 4th 2017 @ 8:13am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 4th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

                How many do I have to know to satisfy your levels of proof?

              • Roar Guru

                October 4th 2017 @ 11:32am
                The Barry said | October 4th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                It’s not really proof though…

                “Two dead guys, my sister and some other unnamed randoms”

                Seems a bit skinny to be labelling an entire city of four million people.

              • October 4th 2017 @ 11:40am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 4th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                When did I label the entire city that way?

              • Roar Guru

                October 4th 2017 @ 12:17pm
                The Barry said | October 4th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                “Sydneysiders are way too well-known for changing NRL teams a few times in their life.”

                You remember…the comment that started all this…

              • Columnist

                October 4th 2017 @ 2:51pm
                Ryan O'Connell said | October 4th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

                The population of Sydney is approximately 5 million. So to claim “Sydneysiders are well known for changing teams”, I’ll be super generous and say you would need to provide evidence of . . . . 25 people, for that comment to even start to have any hint of credibility.

          • Roar Guru

            October 3rd 2017 @ 9:43am
            The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

            Same – I cheered for the Storm in the 06, 07 and 09 grand finals.

            Warriors in 2011

            Cowboys in 2015 and again this year

            • Roar Pro

              October 3rd 2017 @ 10:22am
              Wolly said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              Who were you going for in 2013 Baz?

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 10:40am
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

                13 was a tough one!

                I think I was cheering for the Roosters but I don’t really remember clearly. I watched the game up at Norah Head sports club.

                I was born, raised and schooled in the Easteen Suburbs, my dad and brother are Roosters fans, I played in the Roosters junior league and for the Roosters.

                So I assume I was cheering for the Roosters but I can’t say my heart was really in it…?

              • Roar Pro

                October 3rd 2017 @ 11:41am
                Wolly said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

                I know what you mean, I really didn’t know who to go for in ’14, but then that banner that was held up in the burrow in round 26 the previous year came to mind which pushed me to cheer on the Dogs.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:52am
              Duncan Smith said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

              Why do you hate the Roosters, TB?

              Unrelated, but here’s why my youngest brother is a St George fan. My parents went shopping and bought a bulldogs jersey for my middle brother when he was about ten. My youngest brother was there too. He was about six, and the only jersey the shop had in his size was a St George one.

              That’s the one and only reason he follows the dragons for the last 30 years!

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 12:19pm
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

                I don’t “hate” any club.

                The Roosters were the opposition in the first grand final I saw the Bulldogs win. They’ve met in three grand finals in my life.

                Most of my school mates and footy team mates were either Roosters or Souths fans so you’d cop it worst when one of those teams beat the Dogs.

                The Bulldogs v Roosters rivalry was really intense in the early 2000s, particularly around 2002-04.

                I don’t remember why I started following the Dogs. I think I didn’t want to follow the same team as my dad and brother. I went to a Bulldogs v Wests (I think) semi final in the late 70s as a five or six year old and decided to follow the Dogs.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:29pm
                Duncan Smith said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                Very good.

                My father was born in Lakemba, not far from Belmore. The first grand final I was aware of was 74 when Easts beat Canterbury. In those days, Easts led by Artie Beetson were by far the best team.

                A couple of years later a young fella named Steve Mortimer came to Canterbury and good days lay ahead.

                2002-04 was the peak of the Easts rivalry, and thank God for Andrew Ryan’s last minute tackle in the 04 grand final.

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:27pm
            Adam Bagnall said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

            And yet your very first sentence claims you hate them with a passion. Brilliant

          • October 4th 2017 @ 9:58pm
            Bee bee said | October 4th 2017 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

            NQ v Brisbane is the best on-field rivalry in League for 3 or 4 seasons now. A rivalry built on respect and playing league the way it should be. Your right. The outsiders don’t get Sydney.

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:55am
          Peter Phelps said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

          The Barry, I am pretty sure that what I write does not encompass every Sydney based fan. Indeed, it probably isn’t even the majority but you only have to read the comments on the Roar particularly in the lead up to the GF to realise that there is much truth in what I have written.

          Why is it such a disaster that there are no Sydney clubs in the GF ?
          Why do numerous commentators comment on that fact on Fox, on Nine and all over the media ?
          Why is it essential that the GF remains in Sydney when logic says that Brisbane should at least get a go ?
          And with attendances down, why do we need all these clubs in a declining Sydney market ?

          • Roar Guru

            October 3rd 2017 @ 9:29am
            The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            I read a couple of comments on the Roar about fans not being interested in the GF because of no Sydney teams. By far the overwhelming response was buying into the ‘David v Goliath’ narrative of the game.

            I saw the fact there were no Sydney teams mentioned but only from the perspective that it’s only the third time in history it’s happened. I can honestly say I didn’t see anything bemoaning no Sydney teams. Other than gronky comments on social media.

            Why is it essential that the NRL must move its grand final? There hasn’t been a suggestion that the AFL move theirs and as far as I know there’s not another rugby league ground in Australia that holds 80,000 people.

            I’m open to the grand final moving but the case for it moving is no more compelling than the case for it staying.

            Finally it’s all well and good saying cut this Sydney team and relocate that but it’s shown there’s no surer way of alienating fans than doing that. Whether any of us like it or not the game survives on the revenue generated in Sydney.

            The Storm are a very good club but would they or the national comp exist without the revenue generated in Sydney? The game in Sydney is under threat and needs protection. Cutting teams without due consideration won’t help the Storm or anyone.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:06am
              Reservoir Animal said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

              “Why is it essential that the NRL must move its grand final? There hasn’t been a suggestion that the AFL move theirs”

              There have been lots of suggestions. Sydney, Adelaide and West Coast have all kicked up massive whingefests in recent years about the choice of venue, forgetting that all those clubs have passed up opportunities to get a 100K (or close to it) venue for themselves in recent times.

              • October 4th 2017 @ 9:49pm
                Bee bee said | October 4th 2017 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

                TB. I have to point out that the games reliance on Sydney revenue is not a good thing. Sydney has 8.5 out of 16 clubs. (Penrith 0.5?) Thats a major revenue advantage.

                I know this is a subject you are very well across. But. To continually quote a problem as the reason not to correct a problem seems like a political tactic of Trump proportions. I won’t sign off whatever….. but do you see why people outside of Sydney get frustrated. Soul searching Solutions from inside the citadel. How about it TB? Are you ready to search or is the status quo a suspected convenience for those who fear change?

              • Roar Guru

                October 5th 2017 @ 6:43am
                The Barry said | October 5th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

                A point well made Bee bee but it wasn’t really the point I was making. It’s not about what’s fair or unfair from a number of clubs point of view. It’s absolutely about the profitability of the game.

                It’s not just Sydney teams that benefit from Sydney revenue, the NRL props up all but two or three clubs in the game. So I don’t think reliance on Sydney revenue is bad if everyone is benefitting.

                I’ll start by saying I do understand to a large degree the frustration of a non-Sydney fan. But I’ll also say there’s a large blind anti-Sydney bias out there which dilutes the reasonable voice. Some of the comments on this post are evidence. There’s a part of the frustration I don’t get which I’ll come back to later.

                If this were an ideal world and we were setting an NRL comp up from scratch there’s no way you’d set it up with nine teams in Sydney. I completely acknowledge that. But that’s not the situation we’re in.

                The NRL is stuck between a rock and a hard place with expansion. Every time they cut or merge or relocate a Sydney team they cost the game fans. And by fans I crudely mean TV viewers.

                Cut say Manly and you lose all those passionate Manly fans to the game. There’s also no other team in all of Northern Sydney so you lose that whole area to soccer, afl and rugby.

                Those fans don’t just switch over to a new team. Anyone that thinks that hasn’t been paying attention.

                So a new franchise coming into say Adelaide has to immediately bring that many fans to the game just to have the NRL back at square one. But this is where the kicker is. They have to be NEW fans to the game. If you’ve got say 10,000 expats in Adelaide who watch rugby league already and they form the supporter base for the new franchise, you haven’t created any additional fans or viewers of the game.

                And this counts even in Brisbane. I completely understand that not everyone in Brisbane likes the Broncos. I think there should be a second (at least) Brisbane team. I get that a second Brisbane team would be well supported. But will it attract enough NEW fans to the game to justify the expense and the cost of cutting a Sydney team?

                Because if the new Brisbane franchise attracts people that already watch NRL but just don’t follow the Broncos then the answer is no.

                That is clinically, objectively, unemotionally at the heart of the problem. There’s not an expansion option that makes financial sense for the NRL and they don’t have the money to tip funds into something that cuts revenue in the immediate term that may or may not payoff in twenty to thirty years.

                So, for me it’s not about fearing change. If someone can come up with a method that culls Sydney teams without losing fans or set up new franchises that attract new fans I’m completely open to the idea.

                So that doesn’t really answer your “searching from within the citadel” line but I’ll be honest, I have no idea what the solution is. I do think I’ve got a better grasp of the challenge than most people. Which is potentially a start.

                I’ve read literally dozens of articles and thousands of posts and watched and listened to hours of discussions about this and not heard one credible solution that addresses the above.

                I’ve got to be honest nothing bores me more than fanciful articles about “we need two divisions of twenty teams each with only five Sydney clubs, five from Brisbane, three in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, PNG, Fiji North, Fiji South, Vanuatu, Hawaii, etc, etc”

                May as well write “how I would structure the NRL if I found a genie in a bottle” in crayon, on the back of a rice bubbles box. ?

                Back to the frustration. If someone is a passionate Broncos, Storm or Cowboys fan, why is it frustrating their team plays against teams from Manly, Penrith or the Roosters as opposed to teams from Adelaide, Perth or Hobart?

              • October 5th 2017 @ 4:41pm
                Bee bee said | October 5th 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

                TBH TB I agree. There is no credible solution at present. Hopefully over time a clear path will emerge toward an improved structure.

      • Roar Guru

        October 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am
        Will Sinclair said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        We need to cull the number of Sydney clubs commensurate with support (here’s looking at you Manly) and expanding to become truly national. Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane 2 and maybe even somewhere like Geelong may be where the future of our sport lies.

        How can anyone look at the NRL and think: “I know what will make this competition great – more clubs like the Gold Coast Titans.”

        I mean, seriously…

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:03am
          Peter Phelps said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

          Trouble is, you often need several failed attempts in Business before you get a successful one. In sport that also takes time and nurturing and good management which has been missing in the Titans. Good management and a bit of success and who knows, the Gold Coast could be a success.

        • October 4th 2017 @ 9:33pm
          Bee bee said | October 4th 2017 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

          A Tiger shouldn’t be throwing stones at the glitter strip right now. GC was starting to develop a real community backing. Torpedoes like Cherry bomb and the Hayne Plane have set them back but the team will come good just like the Tigers will……. eventually.

      • Roar Pro

        October 3rd 2017 @ 10:02am
        Wolly said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Here we go again.

        Does this mean Thaiday and Hannant and Hunt are sydneysiders?

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 10:54am
        Tom G said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        So Peter in an argument to promote a national game your resolution is immediately to cull Sydney clubs.. specifically .. Manly?? Your suggestion is to take the game away from many in the biggest population base in Australia to what point? It’s taken years to even get media coverage for the Storm in Melbourne and they have won comps.. cheated for a couple but won GF’s nonetheless .You totally ignore the tribal nature of the game. Quite simply when you lose a club you don’t immediately pick their fans up at another club.. There are Norths fans that have still never resurfaced anywhere else, plenty are now Swans fans. Those fans are not only lost to ground attendance but TV ratings in the biggest TV market and to what point? So that Adelaide can get a second tier sport that struggles for eyeballs and sponsors? Ironic that you should also rant about ‘hate’ and jealousy for the Storm and then nominate Manly as your preferred cull side.. a successful club, the only northern Sydney side, with fans so loyal they can put up with the ongoing ‘hatred’ of nearly every single club’s fans. I think its great that the Storm have a good structure and a seemingly bright future. The test of which is when the lean years come and in this game they always do.

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