Throwback Thursday: Shark Park Comeback

Very little was known about the Melbourne Storm team that arrived at Shark Park for the opening game of the 2003 season.

A new coach, new captain and several unknown, young players.

Nobody could predict it at the time but this game would signal the start of a successful journey that Storm fans would continue to enjoy to this day.

The Club had appointed former Canberra Raider and Broncos assistant Craig Bellamy as head coach.

Also making their Storm debuts at Cronulla that day were Dallas Johnson and a 19-year-old former jockey apprentice named Billy Slater.

After seeing their side miss the finals the previous two seasons Storm fans finally had reason to be optimistic. However that optimism did not last long as the Sharks raced out to a 20-0 lead in the blink of an eye.

As far as new beginnings go for sporting clubs, things do not get much rockier than that.

Matt Geyer, hardly a seasoned veteran at 28 but one of the team’s more experienced players at the time, recalls the doubts that had crept into his mind just 20 minutes into this new era at Storm.

“I remember thinking ‘oh god, what about all this work we had done in pre-season?’” Geyer said.

“The Craig Bellamy pre-seasons have since become quite famous over the years and we trained bloody hard, I’ve never trained so hard. You go through all these doubts. ‘Did we train too hard?’ ‘Maybe we shouldn’t have trained so hard’

“What happened after that is in folklore now.”