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Storm History


Storm celebrate at fulltime  - NRL Melbourne Storm defeated Cronulla Sharks at Shark Park, Sunday March 16th 2003. Digital image by Colin Whelan © Action Photographics
There have been countless memorable Storm moments over the years.

Melbourne Storm came into existance in 1998 as part of the newly formed National Rugby league competition.

The Club was the first ever professional Victorian rugby league club and spent little time stamping their mark, winning their maiden premiership in just their second year.

Storm have played in a total of seven grand finals during their 19-year history, missing the finals on just three occassions. 

The Club has built itself on the values of family, accountability, hard work, respect and passion. It is these values that drive Melbourne Storm to succeed each and every year, both on and off the field.

First and foremost we are a team that is built by our members and without them we would not have a history to begin with.

Enjoy taking a walk down Storm's memory lane.

  • Wins 21, Losses 6
    Result: Minor Premiers/Grand Finalists

    Storm kicked off the season with three straight wins despite playing below their best.

    Marika Koroibete scored a double in a season-opening win against the Dragons while Will Chambers did the same the following week in a 34-16 triumph over the Gold Coast.

    Two losses soon followed against the Sharks and Bulldogs before a Round 7 golden point-win over Wests Tigers saw Melbourne hit their straps.

    Cooper Cronk’s 85th minute field goal in that game kick-started a stellar run for Storm that saw them win 13 of their next 14 games to move into top spot on the NRL ladder. Cronk went on to play his 300th NRL game in a Preliminary final later in the season – becoming just the 25th player to reach that mark.

    The team managed to do that whilst also experiencing one of the longest injury lists the Club has seen. With their outside back stocks all but depleted, Cheyse Blair, rookie Suliasi Vunivalu and mid-season signing Ryan Morgan were all handed Storm debuts.

    For the first time in the Club’s history, Storm kept their opponents scoreless in consecutive weeks, first on ANZAC Day against the Warriors (42-0) then the Titans a week later (38-0).

    Round 10 saw the Melbourne take part in the first ever NRL Double Header in front of 52,347 fans at Suncorp Stadium – the largest non-finals crowd of the season. That night Cameron Smith helped Storm to a thrilling one-point win over the Cowboys with a field goal in the 71st minute.

    Melbourne then went through the Origin period with a 5-1 record, its best performance during that part of a season in six years. Big away wins over the Roosters and Broncos by 46 and 42 points respectively were the highlights.

    Vunivalu scored three tries that night against Brisbane to make it 16 tries from his opening 10 games. The 20-year-old ultimately finished with 23 for the season to finish the year as the NRL’s leading try scorer and break Storm’s try-scoring record.

    The final game of the season saw the men in purple clinch the Club’s first Minor Premiership since 2011 with a 26-6 win over Cronulla.

    They backed up their efforts in Week One of the finals, defeating reigning premiers North Queensland 16-10.

    After earning a week off, Craig Bellamy’s side booked their place in a sixth Grand Final in 11 years, narrowly defeating the Canberra Raiders 14-12. That game also broke a new record for Storm as it was the first time in history the Club recorded four consecutive home crowds of 20,000-plus.

    Storm then gave their absolute all against the Sharks in the Grand Final and took the lead with 15 minutes to play however they were ultimately piped for the top prize, going down 14-12.

  • Wins 14, Losses 10
    Result: Preliminary finalists (4th)

    With the youngest Storm side ever assembled under Craig Bellamy, the team once again managed a 14-10 record for the second straight season.

    This time it was enough to see Melbourne clinch a top four spot on the final day of the season.

    In Week One of the finals they took on Minor Premiers the Sydney Roosters, who went into the clash on the back of a 12-game winning streak. Storm managed to pull off a two-point upset win but were unable to reach the Grand Final, going down to the Cowboys at home two weeks later.

    Storm’s defence was a vital part of the team’s success in 2015. The men in purple managed to keep their opponents to single digit scores on six occasions throughout the season, five of which were against sides that finished inside the top eight.

    A highlight of the season was the emergence of youngster Cameron Munster. Following Billy Slater’s season-ending shoulder surgery in Round 10, 21-year-old Munster produced a string of outstanding performances at fullback for the Storm that provided Storm fans with an exciting look to the future.

    Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy became the first player and coach to reach the illustrious 300 game milestone for the Club.

    After two years at the helm, Mark Evans handed over the position of CEO to 32-year-old Dave Donaghy.

  • Wins 14, Losses 10
    Result: Qualifying finalists (6th)

    The club finished outside the top four for the first time since 2005 (other than when competition points were stripped in 2010).

    It was a roller coaster campaign that kicked off with consecutive one-point wins, courtesy of drop goals from Smith and Cooper Cronk. Storm five wins this season came at a combined 17 points.

    Injuries to Cronk (broken arm) and Billy Slater (shoulder) during the Origin period saw the Storm lose four of six games during that stretch as they were left clinging to 8th spot on the NRL ladder.

    The team managed to steady the ship by winning six of their last eight home-and-away games to finish sixth.

    In a significant boost for the Club, captain Cameron Smith signed a four-year contract extension just one week into the season.

  • Wins 16, Losses 7, Draws 1
    Result: Semi-finalists

    Seven straight wins to start the season extended the Club’s winning streak to 15 games dating back to the previous campaign.

    The Origin period proved difficult to negotiate however with team unable to come up with some crucial wins at the business end of the season, eventually finishing in third place.

    Two finals losses to the Rabbitohs and Knights prematurely ended the season, as Storm did not make the Preliminary final stage for just the second time in eight years.

    The Storm attack was the shining light of the season, producing 98 tries to be ranked second in the competition.

    The team also had the best home record of any side in the NRL, losing just the one game at AAMI Park during the season.

    Cooper Cronk was rewarded for several seasons of brilliance, claiming his first Dally Medal Play of the Year honour.

    Off the field Storm experienced a change at the helm with Mark Evans replacing Ron Gauci as CEO midway through the season.

  • Wins 17, Losses 7
    Result: Premiers

    Spurred on by the way the previous season ended, Melbourne won their first nine games by an average of 20 points.

    A difficult Origin period followed, which included a five-game losing streak as the critics began to write off Craig Bellamy’s side.

    A knee injury to Billy Slater during Origin also tested the side before a return to form in the lead into the finals saw them finish second on the ladder.

    They continued their run of form into the finals, booking a Grand Final berth against Minor Premiers Canterbury.

    In a tough, grueling game, Storm triumphed 14-4 to cap off a testing few years for the Club in the best possible way.

    Cooper Cronk produced an immaculate kicking game in the decider to be named the Clive Churchill Medalist. He also produced 32 try assists and 26 line-break assists during the season.

  • Wins 19, Losses 5
    Result: Minor Premiers/Preliminary final

    Storm enjoyed a strong start to the season with a 7-3 record from the opening 10 rounds.

    Their run of stellar form continued, losing just two games for the remainder of the season. Both of those came on the eve of the finals but the team was still able to win the Minor Premiership, finishing two points clear of Manly.

    After beating Newcastle 18-8 in the Qualifying final, Storm’s season was prematurely ended with a home preliminary final loss to the Warriors.

    Melbourne again finished the season with the competition’s best defence.

    At the Dally M awards, the Club featured prominently. Billy Slater was named the Dally M Player of the Year and Best Fullback while Cameron Smith (Captain of the Year, Hooker of the Year and Rep Player of the Year), Cooper Cronk (Halfback of the Year) and Craig Bellamy (Coach of the Year) also received honours.

    Gareth Widdop also enjoyed a breakout season, playing 25 games while making 16 line breaks and providing 16 try assists.

  • Wins 14, Losses 10
    Result: 16th

    After winning the first four games of the season, Storm’s season would hit a significant challenge after Round 6 when the NRL penalised the Club for salary cap breaches with the team unable to play for points for the remainder of the season.

    Craig Bellamy and the players maintained an incredible focus to win 14 games for the year, the same number they achieved the previous season. That would have been enough to see them finish in fifth spot on the ladder.

    This season remains the only time Storm have missed the finals in the Bellamy era.

    Greg Inglis scored 11 tries to finish as the team’s leading try scorer in his final year at Storm. Other notable players to leave included Brett White, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Finch, Jeff Lima and Aiden Tolman.

    However there were several highlights during the season with youngsters Jesse Bromwich, Matthew Duffie, Luke Kelly, Rory Kostjasyn, Justin O’Neill and Gareth Widdop all bursting on the scene.

    Storm also played their first ever game at AAMI Park in Round 9.

    Ryan Hinchcliffe was named Storm’s player of the year while Ron Gauci was instilled as Storm CEO midway through the difficult season and set about rebuilding the Club over the next several seasons.

    Craig Bellamy continues to be highly regarded for the way he lead the Club throughout 2010 and had this to say when summing up the season.

    “When we found out it was obviously devastating and the year has been a drawn-out and difficult one ever since. But we stayed competitive, we unearthed some good kids and we conducted ourselves with dignity. For that I’m proud of the boys. It’s sad to see guys go especially given the massive contribution they have had to this club.” 

  • Wins 14, Losses 9, Draws 1
    Result: Grand Final winners

    A slow start to the season saw Melbourne win just three of their first seven games.

    However the team rallied, losing just one of their next seven to move into fourth position by Round 14, where they would remain for the rest of the season.

    The finals series was when Melbourne really hit their straps, winning their first two finals by 28 and 30 points respectively.

    In the Grand Final, Storm defeated Parramatta 23-16 with Billy Slater named the Clive Churchill Medalist. 

  • Wins 17, Losses 7
    Result: Grand Finalists

    Despite losing seven games, Storm managed to finish in top spot on the NRL ladder for a third successive season.

    They had to wait until the final game to do it though, defeating South Sydney 42-4.

    A loss to the Warriors in the Qualifying final meant Storm had to do it the hard way and they did just that, defeating the Broncos and Sharks on the road.

    That tough road eventually caught up with Melbourne in the decider, which they lost to Manly.

    Matt Geyer became the first Storm player to reach 250 games while Billy Slater followed on from Cameron Smith the previous year, earning the Golden boot award as the best player in the world.

  • Wins 21, Losses 3
    Result: Grand Final winners

    The most successful season in the Club’s history as the team managed 21 wins on their way to winning the NRL Grand Final.

    Storm’s success was built on the back of incredibly defence. Craig Bellamy’s men conceded just 11.5 points per game, the best defensive season in the Club’s history.

    The year began with seven straight wins and by Round 12 Melbourne had moved into first place, where they remained for the rest of the season.

    Storm earned redemption from the 2006 Grand Final loss by beating the Broncos 40-0 in the Qualifying final. They faced Manly in the decider, running away with a 34-8 victory as Greg Inglis scored a double on the night to be named the Clive Churchill medalist.

    Cameron Smith increased his standing as the best player in the game by being awarded the Golden Boot after being named the International Player of the Year while Israel Folau set an NRL rookie record, scoring 21 tries for the season.

  • Wins 20, Losses 4
    Result: Runner Up

    The team backed up their stellar defensive effort the previous year to concede just 404 points in 2006.

    The retirement of Robbie Kearns saw a rotating captaincy introduced between David Kidwell, Scott Hill, Cameron Smith, Matt Geyer and Michael Crocker.

    Cooper Cronk also assumed the halfback duties following the departure of Matt Orford.

    Storm won 13 of their last 14 games of the season to take a great run of form into the finals where they progressed to reach their first Grand Final since 1999 after wins over the Eels and Dragons.

    This broke a run of three straight semi-final exits for Craig Bellamy’s team.

    Melbourne fell just short in the decider against Brisbane however the platform had now been built for a sustained run of success.

  • Wins 13, Losses 11
    Results: Semi-final (6th)

    The season began with two big wins over the Knights and Dragons, each by more than 30 points.

    The form line followed a similar path to the previous season though as the team struggled to string consecutive wins together and hovered around the lower part of the eight for much of the season before ultimately finishing sixth once again.

    Future star Greg Inglis made his debut in Round 6.

    Storm finished the season with the second best defence in the competition and again went to Suncorp Stadium in Week One of the finals, producing the same result to defeat the Broncos.

    However for the third straight season the side was unable to progress past the semi final stage, losing to the Cowboys. 

    At the end of the season, Storm legends Robbie Kearns and Matt Geyer were inducted as inaugural life members of the Club.

  • Wins 13, Losses 11
    Results: Semi-final (6th)

    Inconsistency plagued Storm in Craig Bellamy’s second season in charge but the team managed to win four games in a row during the middle part of the year to move into the top four.

    They could not maintain their run though, eventually finishing sixth.

    Once again Storm won its first final, a 31-14 triumph over the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium before bowing out to the Bulldogs for the second straight season the following week.

    John Ribot departed the Club early in the 2004 season with Frank Stanton stepping in as acting CEO for the next 12 months.

  • Wins 15, Losses 9
    Results: Semi-final (5th)

    A changing of the guard saw Craig Bellamy take over as Storm head coach and instant change began to sweep through the Club, translating to on-field success.

    With the evergreen Robbie Kearns and Matt Orford leading the way, Storm returned to the finals, winning 15 games, their most since the 1999 premiership year.

    A run of eight wins from their last 10 games saw Melbourne finish in fifth spot and defeated the Raiders in Week One of the finals.

    That season also saw the debut of Billy Slater, who scored 19 tries in his rookie season playing roles at centre and fullback.

  • Wins 9, Losses 14, Drawn 1
    Result: 10th

    Executive Director John Ribot moved into the position of CEO during 2002 in what was a year of more change for the Victorian club.

    Storm returned to Olympic Park for the 2002 season with Rodney Howe appointed as the new captain.

    The season began with difficulty as the men in purple endured a seven game winless run during the first half of the year.

    They hovered around the edge of the top eight for much of the season and needed a win against the Raiders on the final day of the season to book a place in the finals however came up short 25-16.

    Future captain Cameron Smith made his first-grade debut in Round 5 against the Bulldogs and played the following week in his only two games for the year. Both appearances were made in the halfback position.

  • Wins 11, Losses 14, Drawn 1
    Results:
    9th

    Storm lost playmaker Brett Kimmorley (Northern Eagles) however offset that departure with the arrival of halfback Matt Orford. With 20 players coming out of contract at the end of the previous season, 2001 once again saw significant change to the playing group.

    As a result the team won just two of their first seven games with coach Chris Anderson departing shortly after. He was replaced by Mark Murray who lifted Storm to a run of seven wins from 10 games and into sixth place on the NRL ladder.

    However the season came to a disappointing end as Storm missed the finals for the first time in their history.

    Scoring points certainly was not an issue for Melbourne, managing 704 for the season in what remains a Club record to this day.

    In a landmark moment for the Club, Russell Bawden and Richard Swain became the first Storm players to reach the 100 game milestone.

  • Wins 14, Losses 11, Drawn 1
    Result: Qualifying final (6th)

    The year after winning the premiership saw significant change sweep through Melbourne. Captain Glenn Lazarus retired while Kiwi talisman Tawera Nikau returned to played in the UK Super League.

    Star prop Robbie Kearns was appointed as the new captain.

    The year started perfectly as Storm defeated St Helens 44-6 in the World Club Challenge, with Scott Hill and Robbie Ross both scoring two tries.

    However the season proper began with four straight losses before a 70-10 win at the MCG over the Dragons kicked off a run that saw them lose just one of their next nine games.

    That run moved Melbourne into the top four but the men in purple could not stay there. Major injuries to Marcus Bai and Robbie Ross eventually took their toll and the team finished sixth.

    Melbourne took a patchy run of form into the finals and were subsequently eliminated in the first week by Newcastle on a wet and miserable afternoon. 

  • Wins 16, Losses 8
    Result: Premiers

    Storm began its second season in the NRL with an indifferent start, going through the first seven games with a 4-3 record however from that point on, Chris Anderson’s team began to hit their straps by winning eight of the next nine games.

    Despite losing playmaker Scott Hill and key prop Robbie Kearns to injury, Melbourne managed to once again finish third on the ladder.

    Their finals campaign did not start in ideal fashion as the Victorian side was upset 34-10 at home to St George-Illawarra. That meant Storm had to do it the hard way, beating the Bulldogs and Eels in consecutive weeks to book a maiden Grand Final berth.

    They would once again face the Dragons, whom they had already lost twice against during the year.

    It looked as though it would be more of the same as Melbourne found themselves trailing 14-0 at half-time. However in front of 107,999 fans – the biggest crowd in NRL history – Storm fought back.

    Storm winger Craig Smith was awarded a penalty try late in the game that saw Matt Geyer add the game-winning conversion in front of the posts to snatch a famous 20-18 win to claim their first NRL premiership in just their second season of existence.

  • Wins 17, Losses 6, Drawn 1
    Result: Preliminary final (3rd)

    The National Rugby League was formed in 1998.

    The new competition consisted of 20 clubs with this number eventually being brought back to 14 within two years.

    A landmark moment saw the first Melbourne-based professional rugby league Club formed. This came after a significant push from former Super League boss John Ribot who founded the Victorian Club and brought Chris Johns on board as inaugural CEO.

    Ribot then set about signing premiership-winning coach Chris Anderson from the Bulldogs before the pair turned their attention to the playing squad.

    Storm were able to attract Marcus Bai, Scott Hill, Rodney Howe, Stephen Kearney, Brett Kimmorely, Robbie Kearns, Tawera Nikau, Richard Swain and Robbie Ross. Glenn Lazarus was lured from the Brisbane Broncos and named Storm’s first captain.

    Melbourne Storm played their first ever game on March 14, 1998 against the Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium.

    Despite being tipped to struggle, Storm shocked the “experts” to win the game 14-12. They kept their winning run going to make a 4-0 start to life in rugby league’s newest elite competition.

    Storm had to wait until Round 3 to play their first home game with 11,346 fans coming to Olympic Park to see them defeat the Sharks 26-18.

    Melbourne won seven of their first eight games in their debut season and beat Canberra 16-12 in the final game to secure a third place finish. An impressive inaugural season saw Storm fall just one game short of the Grand Final, losing to eventual premiers the Brisbane Broncos.