Players come and go but champions remain.
That sums up what Robbie Kearns has meant to Melbourne Storm, not only as a player but as a person.
It was the end of 1997 and Super League franchise the Western Reds, whom Kearns was playing for at the time, were about to fold.
Kearns had already spent time with the Sharks (75 games) and Reds (37 games) but was yet to establish himself at the top level.
The Storm hierarchy saw the potential and went after him.
"He was a fringe player who had the opportunity to play representative football," Storm founder and inaugural CEO John Ribot said.
Kearns expressed interest in moving to the newly formed club in Victoria but he was upfront from the start about what his intensions were.
'I might play here for a few years but I'll go back to Cronulla, I love surfing.'
They were the words Ribot remembers hearing out of Kearns' mouth at the time.
Match: Storm v Raiders
Round 20 -
Venue: AAMI Park
- LIVE PASS
As history shows though, the fearless prop could not have been more wrong.
He remained in Melbourne for the remainder of his playing career that spanned from 1998-2005 and culminated in 169 terrific games in the purple jersey.
"Robbie was one of those role models at the Club," Ribot said.
"If you wanted to go into battle, Kearnsy certainly played above his weight and just gave you 110 per cent.
"The way he played, the way he led people around the Club, he was a great ambassador for us."
And he still is.
When retirement came calling for Kearns he did not pack up his things and return to the Shire, he already knew he was home.
He took up a duel role in the football and administration department before moving into full time administration as Melbourne Storm's Business Development Manager, a role he still holds to this very day.
'Kearnsy' embraced Melbourne with open arms and the city did the same to him.
It is a classic example of how life is full of interesting twists and turns that ultimately lead down a surprising yet fulfilling path.
"Imagine going up to someone and saying, 'I'd like you to come to this Club but it might only last a year or two and if it doesn't work out you might have to find your own way home'," Ribot said.
"We needed some really special people who were prepared to make a sacrifice and realise what an amazing challenge it was. Robbie was a classic example of that.
"Robbie has got into Melbourne and the lifestyle of Melbourne and knowing his personality it was a great fit for him and still is a great fit for him.
"He keeps alive the history of the Club and the current players see the way Robbie handles himself, that is a great advertisement of what our Club stands for and what they should stand for as people when they come into the Club."
This Saturday night Robbie Kearns, along with his fellow Melbourne Old Boys, will form a guard of honour as the Storm players of today take the field to face the Canberra Raiders.