The Melbourne Storm have been by far the best NRL team in the last ten years, winning three premierships and have not missed out on the finals once.
Melbourne entered the competition in 1998 and finished third on the ladder, progressing to a preliminary final. That roster had some big names, including Brett Kimmorley, Robbie Kearns and the great captain Glenn Lazarus.
In just their second year, the Storm won the premiership, while two huge signings were made in back-to-back seasons as Billy Slater arrived in 2003, before Greg Inglis in 2004.
Melbourne were striped of their 2007 and 2009 titles, as well as their 2006, 2007 and 2008 minor premierships because of their salary cap breaches. They were also forced to play for no points in 2010, leading to their first and only wooden spoon to date.
After this devastating season, Inglis left the club for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Things didn’t look great for Melbourne, however they proved the doubters wrong as they went on to make a prelim final the very next season and in 2012 won the franchise’s second official premiership.
After the 2012 season, it became apparent that the Strom had formed one of the greatest trios of all time in Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and arguably the greatest player of all time, Cameron Smith.
In 2017 they wpn another title, then in 2018, Smith’s men walked into their third straight grand final – this one with some spice added to it as it was against Cronk.
Cronk was nearly certain to not play due to an injury that would usually be sustained in a car crash, but he suited up and helped the Roosters knock the Storm off.
In 2020, despite Smith being the only one of the big three left, he heroically led his side to another ring in his final year of footy.
The Storm have been such a great club that many ask how do they keep this up every year?
Victoria is not the best area to find rugby league talent, due to the state being an AFL heartland, so some think they just steal players from other clubs. This, however, is almost never the case when it comes to Melbourne as they have a great feeder clubs in the Sunshine Coast Falcons and Brisbane Tigers, who are two of the best player product clubs in the country.
Which players have the Storm signed in the last 15 years that have been big names before arriving? The only one that comes to my mind is rep player Michael Crocker in 2006.
This is another point that displays why Melbourne is so successful, they sign players at the beginning of their career, which their brilliant scouts choose wisely.
In conclusion, the Melbourne Storm is one of the most successful NRL clubs of all time, despite being in the competition for less than three decades.
Missing out on the finals just three times in 23 years is just out of this world, plus four legitimate premierships.
Despite the departure of the great Cameron Smith, I don’t expect Melbourne’s dominance to stop in the coming years and decades as their junior system is spot on, and their current team is full of young and old superstars.