20-year Team: Hookers
Over 20 years, two men have been the keepers of the No.9 purple jersey.
Each has gone about it in their own unique style. One began the legacy while the other has taken it to a level no other player may reach again.
We look at the two candidates for the hooker position in Melbourne Storm’s 20-year team:
- 132 Storm games (1998-2002)
- 17 tries
- 1999 Premiership player
The first man to don the No.9 at Melbourne Storm was a star from the outset. Swain spent a season with Super League club Hunter Mariners before moving south in 1998. He played 100 consecutive games for the Club and in 2001 became the first player in NRL history to record 1,000 tackles in a single season. Swain was also the hero in the 1999 Preliminary final against Parramatta – with his try helping seal the comeback victory and give Storm a shot at its maiden Premiership. He also represented New Zealand in 19 tests during his career.
- 358 Storm games (2002-present)
- 42 tries
- 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017 Premiership player
Where do you even begin to describe the career of the greatest rugby league player to ever lace up a pair of boots. Four Premierships is impressive enough, then you add the record he holds for most games played in NRL history (358), most wins (254), most games as captain (255), most points by a forward (2,185) and most State of Origin appearances (42). Smith also has a trophy cabinet that should have a house of its own. Over 16 seasons he has been a seven-time Dally M Hooker of the Year, two-time Dally M Player of the Year, seven-time Storm Player of the Year, four-time Wally Lewis Medallist and two-time Golden Boot winner. Smith has led Melbourne Storm as captain since 2008, representing the Club with a level of class and distinction that sees him now stand as a renowned and respected figure for not only the game of rugby league but Australian sport.