NRL

PASSING STORM AND WESTERN FAILURES

There is always the one thing every opposition rugby league fan is always asking, more vehemently in the past couple of previous seasons which is, when will the unbelievable run of the Melbourne storm stop? Will they ever drop down the ladder? Is this the year they fail? 

As much as anyone can say they despise the storm we all have to respect the culture and system they have down there. Since they came into the competition in 1998 for their first season, they have won 4 premierships 1999, 2012, 2017 and 2020 (they also had 2 premierships stripped from 2007 and 2009 due to salary cap breaches), lost the grand final in 2006,2008,2016 and 2018, won 4 minor premierships in 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2019 (as well as being stripped of the honors from 2006, 2007, 2008 due to cap breaches), multiple world club challenges against the best in the super league and the wooden spoon in 2010 due to the breaches. 

The Melbourne Storm are the 2020 NRL premiers following a 26-20 win over the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Jonathan Ng

But how can a team be so dominant, is it because there is no real outside pressure coming from the outside being a team in AFL heartland? Is it because of the way the club has been structured since the came into existence? How can all the other teams like the Bulldogs, Cowboys, Warriors and Tigers move forward and become competitive in the seasons after being so poor the last few years or the case of the Tigers the last decade.  

The one thing that has been consistent besides there form and only missing the finals 3 times and having an average ladder position of 4th since there first season is the one question I asked at the beginning, is this the year they fail? It is the question that was asked when Billy Slater retired, they survived, when Cooper Cronk left for the Roosters, they were fine and then this year Cameron Smith retired< they look set for another minor premiership and are a strong possibility of winning another grand final. 

But now the big question was how would they go when Craig Bellamy leaves, he has signed on to continue coaching them, so what is it that is so special around the storm that keeps them as the perennial top team in the NRL. Is it the leadership that Bellamy has provided since he took over after the storms statistically biggest slump and finals drought of 2 years between 2001-2002, think about that since 1998 the biggest drought the storm has had is 2 years to put that into perspective the West Tigers came into the league after the storm and have only made the finals on 3 occasions? 

So, can we look at the Tigers lack of success compared to the storms continual ability to be successful and blame it on the playing roster, the coaches or the administration? I truly believe when you look at the statistics the major factor is the stability at a boardroom level who are willing to listen to the coach and football department. You simply have to watch the Tigers documentary on Foxtel and see the current CEO taking advice off of one of the biggest investors in the club for what to do, I’m sorry but you need to look at the best sporting teams and organizations around the world that are continually successful the one thing that is common is they trust and listen to the people who are leading the players on a daily basis. 

Photo Credit: AAP

As much as I’m happy to see the tigers struggle as it creates numerous jokes I honestly feel for the fans of the club as well as the players and coaches at the club who have worked their backsides off only to be undermined by the constant infighting between the Wests side and Balmain sides of the club fighting to see who has the biggest proverbial but has done the opposite and whoever has been in charge has shown they have the smallest as they clearly are only out for themselves. 

Obviously, I am talking about both these clubs from the outside but in all honesty, I don’t know how the tigers are going to be successful until they just bring in a board with no ties to either side of the merger or do you just look at them as the team to move since everyone agrees that we have to many teams in Sydney. The storm on the other hand if they keep Bellamy around for a long time over seeing the football department down there assisting the new coach when he eventually does retire, I can’t see them slowing down anytime soon in regards to winning trophies. 

But at the end of the day, we should encourage our clubs to be more supportive of the coaches and football departments that they employ to make the right decisions in regards to the setup of the roster and teams named on game days otherwise if the boards continue to undermine those people that they employ those teams will be more like the Tigers compared to the storm and we will slowly see some teams die out. 

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