Storm brewing as Melbourne commemorate salary-cap tainted 'premiership’
The NRL continues to allow Melbourne to run their own race – and rival clubs are far from impressed.
There has been a perception for years that the Storm get a very good run from the NRL and, in part, it’s understandable, because the NRL needs the Storm to succeed. But in the eyes of some it has gone too far.
Fashion crime: Fashion crime: Cameron Smith in the commemorative jersey.
Just last week they had a lunch to acknowledge a significant anniversary. ‘‘Join both the 1999 and 2009 grand final teams in celebrating their premiership anniversaries on July 26,’’ the blurb read.
‘‘Don’t miss this opportunity to rub shoulders with Storm greats and reminisce over past glory.’’
That’s right, a lunch to celebrate the 1999 premiership win – one of the great triumphs – and the 2009 title, which was stripped from the club because they systematically rorted the cap.
Remember that? Parramatta fans certainly do. It was Eels figures who raised this with me.
And then last week against the Sea Eagles, as part of the celebration, the Storm created a special jumper to mark the occasion, featuring the words ‘‘celebrating 1999 & 2009 grand finals’’. For all the league world to see.
The Storm salary cap scandal caused enormous anger in the game. Yet, the only person who really lost out was the so-called ‘‘Chief Rat’’ Brian Waldron, the Storm chief executive at the time. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t invited to the lunch, but he should have been because he has taken the fall for others in the whole mess.
If anyone thinks Waldron went rogue and acted on his own, they are delusional. We may never know the full story of what went on down there.
As for the lunch and the words on the jumper, the NRL continues to let Melbourne do what they want. No action will be taken.
‘‘The official premiership records make it clear what happened in 2007 and 2009,’’ an NRL spokesman said. ‘‘What Melbourne choose to acknowledge is a matter for Melbourne.’’
Melbourne’s history-making captain Cameron Smith was asked about the stripped titles on The Matty Johns Podcast this week.
‘‘Amongst the players … they are ours,’’ he said. ‘‘We still have the memories. We all have the rings.’’
Those comments, the message on the jumpers and the lunch are a slap in the face to the NRL.
And this all comes after the governing body stumped up for a dinner for Smith and 30 of his nearest and dearest at a swanky Melbourne establishment to celebrate his 400th game.