Almanac Rugby League – Question: The Storm over The Storm

What does the Almanac community think of the Melbourne Storm drama? Just deserts or overly harsh? Is this the end of NRL in Melbourne? If so, do we care? Are there any AFL implications?

Fire away folks.


  1. Tony Roberts says

    See my article on salary caps posted above.

    Briefly, yes, the Storm’s punishmnet was harsh (anulling the premierships is straight out the Stalinist School of Historical Falsification) and ludicrous (20 more matches for no more points). And yes, it does bear upon the AFL – and any other professional sporting comp

  2. Damian Watson says

    I was in the Channel 10 newsroom when the story broke and I must admit the punishment was relatively harsh. Judging by their actions in breaching the salary cap the consequences of stripping the two premierships were acceptable however surely the NRL can find some avenue into providing purpose for the Storm’s 2010 season. Nobody will want to attend their matches.

    I still have grave concerns over their future with lack of sponsorship and revenue. Expect a fired up side tomorrow however following this week’s match it ius difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. i think this is really over the top.
    i mean the fine and taking this seasons points away is okay, but don’t take the premierships! THATS JUST REALLY MEAN!!!
    BTW- Im a Parramatta Eels fan :)

  4. Dave Nadel says

    I don’t think any of you have really taken on board the level of duplicity implied by keeping two sets of books. If the concept of the salary cap is accepted policy of the competition then the behaviour of the Storm is unacceptable. I will discuss Tony Roberts’ concept of “pioneers’ privilege” in his thread after I have completed this piece but I don’t think it applies in the Storm’s case anyway.

    The Storm is not building Rugby League in Victoria. Unlike AFL in Sydney and Brisbane it has not made any impact in the schools or in junior football. It would be lucky if it has ever played more than two Victorian raised players and it doesn’t have a Victorian competition to develop them in as the AFL does in the Northern States. Apart from a couple of celebrities like Molly Meldrum it has no Victorian supporters. The vast majority of home fans at Storm games are Northerners, Kiwis amd Pacific Islanders who have come to Melbourne as adults and whose kids will probably end up playing and supporting Aussie Rules.

    Tony may well be right (in the other thread)that Storm developed the players that won it two Premierships and are now payed over the salary cap, but recruiting and developing Queenslanders will not grow the game in Melbourne. On the other hand the Storm is not really interested in growing the game in Melbourne. What it is interested in is having a team that can be shown on Sydney and Brisbane Television without competing with the (mostly pathetic) local gates. The Storm has as much relevance to Melbourne as the Gridiron Competition the NFL set up in Europe a few years ago had to Britain, France, Spain and the other places in which teams full of promising young Americans were established. The point of the European competition was to provide American Football for US Pay-TV durng the off season and the point of the Storm (owned by News Ltd) was to provide television games in the Northern States. Now that it has destroyed its credibility it may have trouble doing that. No wonder News Limited executives are “devestated”!

  5. Dave Nadel says

    And they may even be devastated! Sorry about my spelling!

  6. You can’t take away memories.

  7. Dave,
    No supporter of a team gives a toss where a player is recruited from so the argument that they haven’t developed Melbourne raised players is irrevelant. What WAS important was that they were successful and did actually have a reasonable following – for NRL. They had the 4th highest number of members of NRL teams last year (Rabbitohs were first- I suspect Russell Crowe bought most of those). Significantly they got good media coverage -not surprising given they are owned by News Ltd. The game had some potenital to grow on the back of the Storm’s success combined with the new stadium but that’s all shot now.

  8. Andrew Starkie says

    The Storm deliberately broke the salary cap rules – and they have plenty of ‘form’ in this area – however, the penalties handed out are too heavy and will be felt across the whole NRL.

    The stripping of premierships is such a devastating penalty to pay and one that will never be overcome. So many people will be shattered by this. It takes much more than a few extra dollars in the back pocket to win a premiership.

    The stripping of all potential points in 2010 may have long running effects on the Storm. The club may fold as a result, or at the very least, take years to climb back to the top. Players, supporters, sponsors will drop off.

    The NRL and its insular, sporting public and media have to realize the Storm are the greatest thing to ever happen to their sport. The forming of the Storm dragged this limited, struggling suburban competition out of West Sydney’s leagues clubs and in front of a national audience. If Storm go under, the NRL market and reach will shrink. TV deals, exposure, crowd sizes, sponsorship and income will all be affected. Spreading the game in the southern states will come to an end, possibly forever.

  9. Dave Nadel says

    Budge – if you think supporters don’t care where the players are recruited from you will have to explain the fondness for local players at Geelong and the two Adelaide clubs. That wasn’t really my point though. Professional spectator sport needs a strong local base of people who had played the game when young, otherwise it is only a passing fashion and its popularity doesn’t last.

    As for the size of the Storm’s membership, I would still like to see some research on what percentage are not transplants from League and Union areas.

  10. Peter Flynn says

    A sad tale this one.

    Sad for the fans and sad for the players and coach (assuming no involvement).

    I am as mad as hell at Chief Cowboy Waldron and potentially as mad as hell at any suss player managers.

    I would’ve liked to have seen a more creative penalty/solution produced for 2010.

  11. Dave – don’t remember Carlton supporters complaining about Kernahan, North about Barry Cable, Blight or Carey, Saints re Reiwoldt or Swans about Plugger. There’s a million of them – all supporters care about is that they are wearing the right colours. Adelaide supporters haven’t got much to cheer at the moment but I’m tipping they’re happy to have Dangerfield.

  12. Rod Davies says

    I don’t know where to start on this one. I live in Sydney, loathe Rugby League to the core and am an AFL fanatic. When this story broke I was over the moon with the notion that Rugby League had taken a huge kick in the guts, and that perhaps it would be the demise of it in Victoria.
    But on the other hand, when the Storm won their premierships, I was overjoyed that they had beaten 2 Sydney based teams and had stuck it up the moronic supporters and the uneducated and overly bias media in Sydney.

    The media hype here has been so over the top, taking every angle and opinion possible from any Tom, Dick and Harry that had one. It has had more exposure than 911, Harold Holt’s disappearance and Cyclone Tracy put together.

    The NRL is so dependant on NEWS Limited and I whilst I knew that News Ltd owned the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors, I did not know they also had ownership of the Canberra & Nth Queensland teams.

    I have asked these questions before….Why is it called the National Rugby League???

    How is it National when the game is played in only 2 states with a News Limited team in Melbourne. And when did New Zealand become part of Australia??

    If the Storm do go under then the NRL should really consider changing it’s name cos Mr Gallop, it aint National.

    Perhaps NRL could simply stand for Newslimited, Rupertmurdoch, Lachlanmurdoch. These assholes with their Super League and the subsequent pruning of traditional club’s were primarily responsible for me turning my back on the game that I grew up with and now loathe.

  13. What’s all the fuss about.

    Selective rorting of the salary cap to allow new clubs to get the best players in the country at the expense of those who have developed them sounds very like AFL policy these days.

  14. Andrew Fithall says

    I haven’t been able to form a proper view of my own on any of this. But for the definitive commentary on the state of affairs, I recommend Tony Martin’s latest piece on scrivener’s fancy.

  15. I find it amusing that the hardcore RL fan is blaming NewsLtd/SuperLeague for this debacle as I believe this is the consequence of them not gaining control of the NRL. The only way for League to become a properly functioning international game was to become part of the, media based, investment that has taken over the game in the UK.

    It might not have worked, but it was the only chance to be taken seriously. The result now is clear. With only the premiership to play for, you must ‘maximise’ the premiership window through foul means or fair. There is no incentive to develop players, as they will leave for the club that can ‘pay’ them the most money, whether under or over the table.

    Be interesting to see what happens with the Titans and their homebuilding schemes…

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