"Adversity breeds success", sentiments that surely would be echoing around the Melbourne Storm HQ at AAMI Park this week. Following their scrappy 8-6 win over the Dragons on Friday Night the boys in Purple cannot be shaken from the minor premiership in the last two weeks of the NRL Season. Rewind a year, on the 22nd of April 2010 the NRL handed down a Press Release and its CEO David Gallop revealed that the storm would be fined in excess of $1.5 Million lost all competition points for the 2010 season and were stripped of both the 2007 and the 2009 premierships.
After the Heartache in the early part of the year, the storm rallied, not playing for points but playing for charity, points and tries scored amounted to a huge amount of money being distributed across various community groups and charitable organisations. If playing for points the Storm would have finished 4th on the NRL table, just one indication of how good this side is.
In 2011, The Purple Pride was out in force and crowds have soared, with the last home game played on Friday Night (2nd Highest Storm H&A attendance) Melbourne finishes the year with an average of over 14,000 fans. The storm continue to play for everything, this Friday night they take on the 2nd placed Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval for the chance to truly cement themselves as premiership favourites, then in round 26 Storm will play the Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium.
For storm fans, the chance at top spot once again, their side bouncing back from the crushing blows it has come to take over the last 18 months. The move to AAMI Park was a great success with more fans filling the stands as ever, Melbourne fans continued to support their side through the toughest times in the clubs 13 year history. Last weekend’s win against the Dragons, in Billy Slater's 200th game saw fans treated to a rough, slog style game of rugby, but in the end a chance to cheer one of their heroes and the last chance to cheer their side before their 2011 finals campaign.
Rugby fans for many years have flown under the radar, on the train they have been lost in the traffic of AFL supporter scarfs, but with NRL being such big news over the last 2 years they are beginning to come out of the wood work, spruiking their side across the City. Talk back radio stations have been putting Rugby League back onto the Melbourne landscape. Melbourne papers run storm stories on the Back page and continue to support their side. The whole city is slowly getting behind the Storm, in a big way.
A Sydney Paper last year referred to Melbourne Rugby as dead… They aren't done with yet.