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Despite being one of the youngest teams in the National Rugby League, the Melbourne Storm already rank among the most successful of the modern era. But for some well-documented salary cap breaches, the men in purple would have six premierships since joining the competition in 1998.
Melbourne were among the standout teams throughout the 2020 regular season, finishing second to the impressive Penrith Panthers. Those roles were reversed in the NRL Grand Final, where Craig Bellamy’s men capped a unique campaign with a memorable victory.
Will the Storm subside in 2021, or will they be there or thereabouts once again? Let’s see what Australia’s best NRL bookies are saying.
|Home ground:||AAMI Park|
|Premierships:||Four – 1999, 2012, 2017, 2020|
|2020 ladder finish:||Second (16-2) – PREMIERS|
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|2021 Premiership||Make Top 4||Top Tryscorer||Dally M Odds|
|Feb||$7.00||$1.85||J. Addo-Carr – $11.00||–|
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for the Storm, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
|1||South Sydney Rabbitohs||AAMI Park||Thursday, March 11||8:05pm|
|2||Parramatta Eels||BankwestStadium||Thursday, March 18||8:05pm|
|3||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Thursday, March 25||8:05pm|
|4||Brisbane Broncos||AAMI Park||Friday, April 2||8:05pm|
|5||Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs||HBF Park||Saturday, April 10||5:30pm|
|6||Sydney Roosters||AAMI Park||Friday, April 16||7:55pm|
|7||New Zealand Warriors||AAMI Park||Sunday, April 25||6:15pm|
|8||Cronulla Sharks||AAMI Park||Friday, April 30||6:00pm|
|9||South Sydney Rabbitohs||ANZ Stadium||Thursday, May 6||7:50pm|
|10||St. George Illawarra Dragons||Suncorp Stadium||Sunday, May 16||4:05pm|
|11||Canberra Raiders||GIO Stadium||Saturday, May 22||7:35pm|
|12||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Thursday, May 27||7:50pm|
|13||Gold Coast Titans||AAMI Park||Saturday, June 5||7:35pm|
|14||New Zealand Warriors||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, June 13||2:00pm|
|15||West Tigers||AAMI Stadium||Saturday, June 19||7:35pm|
|16||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Ground||Thursday, July 1||7:50pm|
|18||Newcastle Knights||AAMI Park||Saturday, July 17||7:35pm|
|19||North Queensland Cowboys||QLD Country Bank Stadium||Friday, July 23||7:55pm|
|20||Penrith Panthers||AAMI Park||Saturday, July 31||7:35pm|
|21||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Saturday, August 7||7:35pm|
|22||Canberra Raiders||AAMI Park||Thursday, August 12||7:50pm|
|23||Gold Coast Titans||CBUS Super Stadium||Friday, August 19||7:50pm|
|24||Parramatta Eels||AAMI Park||Saturday, August 28||7:35pm|
|25||Cronulla Sharks||Netstrata Stadium||Friday, September 3||6:00pm|
This guy is one of the reasons Melbourne were always going to be OK once the likes of Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater moved on. Now to top it off Cameron Smith is officially gone which means we will see exactly what Cameron Munster is capable of this season. Munster being under the leadership of some of the top players will set him up for a successful season. He will be one to watch with the ball but also watching how he leads the team in the tough moments.
This guy was a decent player when he left Wests Tigers at the end of 2016. Now he is a certified star of the competition. Addo-Carr has turned out to be much more than I think the Storm ever thought he would be. Having a 75% chance of going over in every game the opposition can never take him lightly when the Storm are attacking. With Suliasi Vunivalu leaving the team at the end of 2020, we can only expect they will be leaning on Addo-Carr a little more until Reimis Smith finds his feet in the team. There is no reason his current performance will not continue throughout this year.
People were worried for whoever had to come and fill Billy Slaters shoes, however Ryan filled those shoes perfectly. 2020 Clive Churchill medalist Ryan had 11 tries, 15 try assists, 70 tackle breaks and 15 line breaks in 20 games last year. Moving into his third year with the storm and not too many changes to the side we are expecting this to be his best year yet with having two years experience in first grade footy and will be competing with the likes of James Tedseco for the fullback position in the New South Wales squad.
Prior examples tell us that it takes several years – sometimes decades, sometimes never – for an expansion team to find its feet at the top level. The Storm put that nonsense to bed when they won the first four games of their maiden season in 1998. They reached finals that year and went even better the next, downing St George Illawarra to win the NRL Grand Final at the ripe old age of two.
Melbourne grew stronger and stronger during the first decade of the new millennium, adding premiership wins in 2007 and 2009 alongside minor flags in 2006 and 2008. However, they were all taken away in 2010 when the club was charged with a series of salary cap breaches adding up to over $3 million. Stripped of all their premiership points, the Storm finished bottom of the ladder that year for the first and only time.
Even that couldn’t shake the men in purple. Boasting top-drawer talents such as Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Gareth Widdop and Justin O’Neill, the Storm reached the prelims in 2011 and reclaimed one of their disqualified premierships a year later. They were losing grand finalists in 2016 and restored their flag count to three with a dominant win over the Cowboys in 2017.
The Melbourne Storm have missed the finals only three times – once through a points deduction for salary cap breaches – since joining the competition in 1998. In that time they have featured in eight grand finals and finished top of the table seven times. Past mistakes aside, that’s a hell of a strike rate.