Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Where Does The Melbourne Storm Dynasty Rank? (2017)

The Melbourne Storm’s emphatic 34-6 victory over the determined North Queensland Cowboys in the 2017 NRL grand final brought an end to the tenure of one of the greatest playmaking trios at club level, with Cooper Cronk leaving the club and long-term teammates Billy Slater and Cameron Smith.

So how does this Melbourne Storm dynasty compare to those of the past?

As far as longevity is concerned, the current Storm side began their dynasty in 2003 – when Craig Bellamy took over as coach, and Slater and Smith embarked on their rookie campaigns – making this their 15th season. Only two others have lasted longer: Brisbane’s 18 years from 1992-2009 and the phenomenal St George run of 23 straight seasons in finals football from 1951-1973.

No side comes close to the Dragons’ dynasty for most premierships won, as they collected 11 consecutive titles from 1956-66. The Souths side of 1923-35 scored seven titles, Balmain’s 1914-24 outfit bagged six premierships, as did the Broncos.

Melbourne rank much further down the dynasty list if you count their two titles stripped (2007 and ’09) for salary cap breaches, and rank equal second-last if you only consider the official titles won – their 2012 and ’17 premierships.

That St George side also appeared in the most deciders, with 14 grand final appearances in their 23-year run. The Souths side mentioned above played in 10 premiership finals, while the Roosters of 1930-42 played in nine. These are the only sides to played more deciders than this Storm outfit, who have been in seven, equal with three other dynasties.

The Dragons also claimed 12 minor premierships. The Storm are second, tied with the Balmain 1914-24 dynasty with six. The Storm have also only missed the finals once in the past 15 seasons – in 2010, when the NRL ruled the club would not be awarded competition points.

Then comes arguably the most important factor, win percentage. There have been 19 dynasties since 1908 to have had a run of at least nine seasons, winning at least one premiership and were victorious in at least 60 percent of all games played (regular season, play-offs and finals). These sides have won 75 of the 111 titles won since 1908.

Souths (1923-35) – 74.02%
St.George (1951-73) – 72.39%
Souths (1908-18) – 71.52%
Balmain (1914-24) – 70.07%
Souths (1949-57) – 69.78%
Melbourne (2003-17) – 68.10%
Easts (1930-42) – 68.02%
Manly (1966-78) – 67.63%
Manly (1990-98) – 67.13%
Souths (1965-74) – 66.67%
Parramatta (1975-86) – 66.24%
Canberra (1987-98) – 65.65%
Sydney City (1996-2004) – 63.90%
Balmain (1939-50) – 63.64%
Brisbane (1992-2009) – 63.56%
Easts (1972-83) – 63.27%
Manly (1980-88) – 62.56%
Manly (2005-14) – 61.98%
Newcastle (1995-2003) – 61.47%

During the salary cap era, this Melbourne side has clearly been the most dominant dynasty, playing in more grand finals, winning the second-most number of grand finals, claiming the most minor premierships, having the highest win percentage in finals football, and in total.

The figures show that this Storm side is the best dynasty the game has seen since the legendary St George Dragons’ incomparable era. And while many will argue otherwise – mostly those still holding strong indignation against the club for its salary cap rorting almost a decade ago – the figures don’t lie.
We have just been witness to the closest thing to (albeit it was a long way away from) the Dragons’ dynasty of the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s. Perhaps it’s time to sit back and realise that it took half a century for any team to get close to that side and give the Melbourne Storm the respect and gratitude for their achievements the club deserves.

****This article appeared on Commentary Box Sports website on October 3, 2017****

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