Superb Storm to claim NRL premiership

Michele Moreno
October 2, 2017

Melbourne Storm are the champions for 2017, dispensing with the fairy tale Cowboys with arguably their best performance of the season.

"Cooper.Mate, I've played alongside you for the last 17 years". With NRL Grand Final fever causing such a stir, take a few moments to look beyond the on-field highs and lows, to what supports and unites many players in the NRL community.

Melbourne star halfback Cooper Cronk is expected to retire or move to a Sydney club next season.

That experienced trio, Jesse Bromwich and centre Will Chambers are the only players in the Storm side remaining from their 2012 grand final winning side.

The Cowboys were stunned, and soon afterwards Storm speedster Josh Addo-Carr bolted clear for the opening try.

This Cowboys team must feeling like they can do anything right now, having defied popular opinion just to make the finals, before overcoming the odds to get through to the decider.

In their final appearance together across 14 years, the Storm's big three of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cronk put on their signature three-man play for Addo-Carr to complete his brace.

Josh Addo Carr Melbourne Storm
Josh Addo Carr bagged a double to cap a remarkable season

He is not alone in the Cowboys forward pack though, with the North Queensland starting pack missing just a combined nine games. If you sit back and give the Storm time to develop their game, you have no hope of beating them.

He thought his career may have been over after a debilitating shoulder injury back in 2015, and Billy Slater let it all out after the Storm's dominant victory over the Cowboys in the NRL grand final.

Finding holes in the Storm is hard, but if you were looking for negatives, you could - before this victory - have pointed to their failure to convert competition dominance into title victories.

The Cowboys were without injured co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott.

Then with Cronk we just put him under a lot of pressure and every time he had the football we made sure we didn't allow Melbourne to dictate terms to us.

Off the ball the Cowboys have increased their efficiency in defence through the play-offs too, and after averaging 32.5 missed tackles per game through the regular season have sliced that number down to an impressive 22.3 over the past three weeks. The ascension of Michael Morgan has been something to behold and the continued rise of Jason Taumalolo shows no signs of slowing down. The Storm have already won three premierships since 2009 (although two of those were stripped for rorting the salary cap - another reason to cheer for the Cowboys) and the fact that scenes at Townsville Airport will be epic should the team return home with the trophy.

"I always said it was physical". It was tough to sit through a year ago, the boys going so close and being helpless.

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