Storm Brewing with NRL clubs

Storm brewing as Melbourne rewrite history

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By Danny Weidler
August 3, 2019 —

The NRL continues to allow Melbourne to run their own race – and rival clubs are far from impressed.

There has been a perception for years that the Storm get a very good run from the NRL and, in part, it’s understandable, because the NRL needs the Storm to succeed. But in the eyes of some it has gone too far.


Just last week they had a lunch to acknowledge a significant anniversary. ‘‘Join both the 1999 and 2009 grand final teams in celebrating their premiership anniversaries on July 26,’’ the blurb read.

‘‘Don’t miss this opportunity to rub shoulders with Storm greats and reminisce over past glory.’’
That’s right, a lunch to celebrate the 1999 premiership win – one of the great triumphs – and the 2009 title, which was stripped from the club because they systematically rorted the cap.

Remember that? Parramatta fans certainly do. It was Eels figures who raised this with me.

And then last week against the Sea Eagles, as part of the celebration, the Storm created a special jumper to mark the occasion, featuring the words ‘‘celebrating 1999 & 2009 grand finals’’. For all the league world to see.

The Storm salary cap scandal caused enormous anger in the game. Yet, the only person who really lost out was the so-called ‘‘Chief Rat’’ Brian Waldron, the Storm chief executive at the time. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t invited to the lunch, but he should have been because he has taken the fall for others in the whole mess.

If anyone thinks Waldron went rogue and acted on his own, they are delusional. We may never know the full story of what went on down there.

As for the lunch and the words on the jumper, the NRL continues to let Melbourne do what they want. No action will be taken.

‘‘The official premiership records make it clear what happened in 2007 and 2009,’’ an NRL spokesman said. ‘‘What Melbourne choose to acknowledge is a matter for Melbourne.’’

Melbourne’s history-making captain Cameron Smith was asked about the stripped titles on The Matty Johns Podcast this week.

‘‘Amongst the players ... they are ours,’’ he said. ‘‘We still have the memories. We all have the rings.’’

Those comments, the message on the jumpers and the lunch are a slap in the face to the NRL.
And this all comes after the governing body stumped up for a dinner for Smith and 30 of his nearest and dearest at a swanky Melbourne establishment to celebrate his 400th game.

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  • The only way to stop this kind of crap from happening is to officially award the premiership to the losing Grand Final team in instances where the title has been stripped for cheating, it's not a perfect scenario as other teams could complain that they were denied the opportunity to compete for the title by being knocked out of the competition by the cheating team but it is better than allowing the cheating team to claim to be premiers when they cheated.

    • The NRL should just tell the club that if they in any way officially refer to the stripped premierships that they will be fined 1 million dollars for each breach.

      The club  couldn't hold the memorial lunch or aknowledge the victories in their jerseys.  As for players if they publicly speak (on any broadcast or 2 reporters in an interview) charge them with bringing game into disrepute with a $5-10,000 fine.  Once they no longer play threaten their accreditation for any NRL sanctioned event.

      Pretty sure talk of the premierships would die down pretty quick but as pointed out Melbourne are protected by the NRL and do as they please.

  • Eels should sell ‘09 Premiers T-Shirts at our next Storm game. 

    • I like that idea, wouldn't it piss off the storm fans. Unfortunately I think it would fire up their team and we could see a repeat of the magic round result.

    • Yes that would be gold !!!

    • Great idea

  • Just a reminder, by how much were the cheats over the slary cap in 2009? Was it 1.3m?

    • 3 million

  • Parra and Manly wouldn’t except those premierships not that should have been given a choice. As far as I’m concerned they can shove them up they’re arse. But they should never been allowed to keep the rings in the first place.  

  • The NRL is a corporation. It is and will always act in their on interests with the interests of the fans last and the interest of the clubs running a very close 2nd last.

    If the dollars keep rolling in that is all they are interested in. Its not about perspective, the NRL would have done something about this a long time ago if it was.

    I see the NRL as a exact same senario as the taxi industry. While the Co Ops in the taxi industry received their monthly fee fron taxi owners there was no interest in looking after the drivers and the passengers interests. It can be said  that this is exactly the same attitude of the NRL Corporation with the potential same outcome. NRL is not too big to fail.

    The Super Leauge Wars are a perfect example and I am expecting another round of Super Leauge Wars eventually when the clubs have had enough of the corporation looking after the games interests.

    It is perfectly clear that the expectations of the clubs are not the same expectations as the NRL Corporation.

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