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A career which began 17,000 kilometres from home will continue for Joe Chan this year at the same club his father helped turn into a NRL powerhouse 18 years ago.

The 20-year-old arrives at the Storm after spending the last six years in the south of France, which included two seasons playing in the Super League with Catalans Dragons, where dad Alex has been the general manager since 2016.

Prior to taking his family to France, originally as a player in 2006, Alex spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the Storm.

In that time he helped them to consecutive semi-final appearances as they unearthed a golden generation of players who helped them to make the Grand Final in each of the next four seasons.

While determined to make his own mark at the club, second-rower Joe told that his dad's memories of the Storm played a key role in him signing there for the next two seasons, with a mutual option for 2025. 

Alex Chan in action for Melbourne during the 2004 NRL season. ©NRL Photos
Alex Chan in action for Melbourne during the 2004 NRL season. ©NRL Photos

Should Joe play NRL in 2023 - and provided development player Cole Geyer, who is the son of Storm legend Matt Geyer, doesn't debut before him - the Chans will become the first ever father and son to play for the club. 

"Dad really spoke very highly of the Melbourne Storm and the things they do, and he wasn’t lying," Joe said. 

"The pre-season he said was the hardest thing he has ever experienced in his career… that’s actually been even worse than he described and I think he left out a few details! 

"He spoke very highly of Craig [Bellamy] and what he does for the team and individuals and how he won’t hide or shy away from the facts.

"When you get here you understand why Craig has won so many premierships.

"It’s fun to hear stories about dad here at the club and it makes me push a little bit more, not so much to beat him, but to make sure I make a name for myself here."

Joe Chan during pre-season training with Melbourne. Credit: Storm
Joe Chan during pre-season training with Melbourne. Credit: Storm

Born in Australia with Māori, Samoan, Irish and Chinese heritage, Joe was approached by France to represent them at last year's World Cup but declined because he didn't want to take the spot of a player with stronger ties to the nation.

Between 2009 and 2016, when the family returned to Australia in between Alex's stints with Catalans, Joe played his junior football at St Clair Comets and then Wentworthville, with Panthers centre Izack Tago and Eels flyer Will Penisini among the opponents he came up against during that period. 

As a 15-year-old in France he went straight into the same U-17 team as his older brother Tiaki, before moving into the Catalans' first-team setup two years later. 

The best NRL tries from the Storm in 2022

After such a transient childhood, Joe said he is pleased to now be settled in Melbourne after arriving at the back end of 2022. 

"As a kid it was fun, but moving to France the second time at 15 was hard, trying to adjust to a community I didn’t know that well," Joe said.

"I have always thought Australia was home, which is a bit different to some of my family members who prefer France.

"I feel like Melbourne has been very welcoming, and the food over here is very good, so I need to stay away from that!"

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.