Storm legends reflect on 20 years of success
"We all came up here as nobodies," Marcus Bai remembers.
"Looking back, with AFL in Melbourne, it was going to be hard. We know we had to work hard – and just to make it to the 25- or 21-man squad was really something."
As the Storm reflected on 20 years of consistent success it begs the question: why has the club been so successful after such humble beginnings?
1999 premiership-winning captain Glenn Lazarus says it's the Storm's constant improvement and knack for choosing wisely in key positions.
"They've had the right people in the club for 20 years," he told NRL.com.
"I think (John) Ribot and (Chris) Johnsy, (coach) Chris Anderson and the players were just committed to the place. To win a grand final, the first one in our second year, was a pretty big feat. The club's continued to rise and grow and is the envy of the NRL. They keep improving because you have to, and they continue to do so with the people they bring into the place.
"I think their fans have played a big part here too. Particularly early, we struggled to get any notoriety or recognition in Melbourne, and we had a really strong core base of fans that stuck with us. They go to know us and respect us, and see what we were all about, and continue to do that today. It's a good feeling to know what we started 20 years ago is just getting better."
Tawera Nikau, who was part of the 1999 side and named on the Storm's 20-year team bench, spoke about the organisation's culture.
"I think one of the key things is they've got a great culture on and off the field. They've got a strong history, in terms of the old boys. I'm just very privileged to be part of it."
Can the Storm of 2018 win back-to-back titles?
"Yeah I think so," said Lazarus.
"It's very difficult as you've got the target on the back, and you're the benchmark. The issue will be whether they have the hunger and passion as last year.
"One of the things Melbourne are is very consistent. They'll be in the top four and on their day could quite easily win it."
Nikau has faith in the emerging talent to do a good job.
"All the teams are competitive, but I know Craig Bellamy and the boys will be striving to do their best every week," he said.
"I don't know they would be talking too much about that. They've obviously lost some quality players, but that's the nature of the game. They've got some outstanding young talent."