Classic Storm Articles

Discussion on anything to do with Melbourne Storm - games, players, rumours - anything!
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thinga87
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Thought I'd dig through the archive today and have come up with a couple of gems.

League bosses eye southern frontier in expansion strategies.

By JEFF DUNNE.
24 March 1997
The Australian

AS rival rugby league competitions eye Melbourne as prime territory for expansion, JEFF DUNNE writes that any northern raid on the Australian Football League heartland could be fraught with complications. WITH 22 rugby league teams spread across two competitions and most of Australasia it's hard to think there would be any frontiers left for the 13-a-side code to conquer.

But there is one out there, even though it's not that easy to see where it fits in given the image both Super League and the ARL are portraying at the moment.

A quick peek at the new competition's "Two Tribes" advertisement and you could conclude space was the next frontier to be conquered.

The ARL in contrast is happy to be exploring their own backyard. The "It's my game" campaign suggests they're not too worried about what's over the next door neighbour's fence.

But somewhere in between outerspace and Sydney's suburbia remains Melbourne.

The southern capital is seen as a veritable pot of gold there for the taking despite the fact rainbows are a rare event in rugby league these days.

"With the sort of corporate players you've got down there you're looking at four to five million in sponsorship off the bat," Balmain chief executive Danny Munk said.

Munk knows the market as well as any having explored the possibility of relocating the Tigers to Melbourne.

"You could challenge Brisbane or Auckland with that sort of money and over a period the market has the potential to yield $10 million or more," Munk said.

Big stakes indeed. But it's never as simple as money.

The NSWRL board, which administers the ARL, will receive a recommendation from chief executive Neil Whittaker at a meeting tomorrow on whether to establish an outpost in the southern frontier in 1998.

Super League is not that close to making a decision and will not be rushed into making one, but for either organisation it's a move fraught with complications.

One thing they both agree on, and many south of the border do too, is that Melbourne is ready for rugby league.

The waters have been tested with club games over the past few years and the ever successful State of Origin incursions.

The odds of survival are good, good enough for the chance to be taken now according to AFL great Ron Barassi.

"I've always thought rugby league would be a success in Melbourne.

They've got to start down here sometime and the earlier the better," Barassi says.

"Melburnians love their sport and I'm sure they'd get behind rugby league. But they won't accept rubbish and that's the key to it."

Whittaker agrees. The ARL can hardly afford to go in and wait five years for a club to be successful.

"For the long-term interests of the game we've got to have a team in Melbourne. But if we go there we've got to have a successful team straight away, we can't go down there and struggle for a few years," Whittaker said.

The Australian Football League is watching the developments with interest but not concern. They certainly know it won't be an invasion of a big enough magnitude to pose any substantial threat.

"Our view at the moment is the sooner there is one rugby league competition the better because two teams in Melbourne would be a bit ambitious," AFL communications manager Tony Peek said.

"Either way they'll find it tough. As tough going as we did in Sydney and Brisbane."

Two teams wouldn't be ambitious, according to Barassi, it would be suicide.

Super League and the ARL both have experience at breaking into AFL strongholds.

Super League's Adelaide Rams experiment is going well in its early stages in stark contrast to the Perth Reds. After being sired by the ARL in 1995 they have been adopted by Super League along with the club's mounting debt which totals over $6 million.

But breaking into Melbourne will be far tougher than any other experience in the rugby league world.

While Melbourne may be ready, what has to be remembered is the sport they love, the sport they cherish the most is their footy - AFL that is.

Whatever in-roads league has made the reality is it's still an alien sport and taking that to an environment where the tribes are fiercely loyal will be tough.

South Melbourne's move to Sydney 15 years ago was one of the great pioneering expeditions of sport. Now league will be tracing the path south.

"They can learn a lot from what we went through," original Sydney Swans coach and now club director Ricky Quade said.

"We came up here under-capitalised, there was very little research done on what the market was, there was no infrastructure and there was no junior development.

"The prevailing attitude in Melbourne was our game was so good we could survive anywhere. I'm sure Super League or the ARL won't be making the mistakes we did."

Quade pinpointed junior development as the key to the Swans' now solid grounding in Sydney.

Based on that experience the ARL would go into Melbourne far better equipped than Super League as it has the Victorian Rugby League on its side.

The VRL has 11 clubs established in Melbourne with first and reserve grade sides and junior squads along with another 13 spread across the state.

They also have 1,200 kids ready to pull on the boots this season and put 15,000 through coaching clinics last year.

But Super League has also been active in that area with chief executive John Ribot outlining a $500,000 junior development program his organisation would provide with any move to Melbourne.

Super League also appears to have the ear of the Victorian government with premier Jeff Kennett having expressed interest in hosting a Super League grand final at the MCG.

The probable outcome of positioning for Melbourne is Super League delaying a decision until the future of the game becomes clearer, leaving the ARL with opportunity to get in there first if it elects to move.

If the ARL did it would give it a solid bargaining chip in any event of one competition being reformed.

But the ARL also faces a major restructuring if it wants to put Melbourne on the rugby league map.

"The issue of creating a way for Melbourne to come into the competition is not the primary delay," Whittaker said.

That means the ARL has settled on one of two options - either expand to 14 teams or remain at 12 and have two clubs in Sydney merge.

Amalgamation, merge, rationalise. They're all dirty words in rugby league circles and a difficult reality that few in the game are prepared to face up to.

But it seems a better option than expanding to 14 teams which in the current climate would be akin to building a house on sand.

The player market is already stretched to its limit and two more teams would hardly help produce a strong club in Melbourne without weakening another area of the competition.

A difficult choice. The ARL may still elect to hold off for a little while longer. Whittaker said it has the support of its major backer Optus Vision whichever way it decides to jump.

But VRL president Ray Duncan doesn't think the ARL has any choice but to take the plunge.

"I've got no reason to believe they won't come down. Time is ticking away and the opportunity is here to be taken right now," Duncan said.

And what of names for a new Melbourne team. It's been clearly established by all involved that relocating a team won't work. Melbourne has to have a new club it can identify with.

One name that has been whispered about is Melbourne Storm. Given the current climate it would be all too appropriate.

(c) Nationwide News Proprietary Ltd, 1997.
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thinga87
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The original name announcement:

STORM ON THE HORIZON.

By DOUG BOOTH.
18 September 1997
Herald-Sun

A quiet storm hit Melbourne yesterday, but by next March Super League officials are hoping the thunder will have hit fever pitch.

Melbourne's rugby league franchise announced yesterday that its team will be known as Melbourne Storm when it takes to the field for the first time in 1998.

Melbourne teenager Cameron Duncan came up with the name Storm and his winning entry was chosen from more than 1000 entries received in a competition run in conjunction with the Herald Sun.

Melbourne Storm chief executive Chris Johns said the name was chosen because of the powerful image it projects.

"Storm evokes images of a threatening foe, a rampaging force, coupled with an air of expectation and fear," Johns said yesterday.

"Those elements all have synergy with the power, speed and aggression of our game," he added.

(C) 1997 Herald and Weekly Times Limited.
Mike_The_Undertaker
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Onya Johnsy :D
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thinga87 wrote:
Melbourne teenager Cameron Duncan came up with the name Storm and his winning entry was chosen from more than 1000 entries received in a competition run in conjunction with the Herald Sun.
I wonder if anyone knows this bloke, and whether he went on to become a long term fan?

Thanks Thinga 8)
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Thats cam isn't it :lol: ;lol: :lol:
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whoa, blast from the past!
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Excellent read... ;)
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Christabella
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The first one is a real blast from the past. I have almost forgotten how it felt in the middle of the split comps. It's funny looking back and reading how both the ARL and Super League camps expect to be around for years to come.
All of a sudden I have the urge to read over Middleton's account of the 1997 season in his book.

Also LMAO at this :
But somewhere in between outerspace and Sydney's suburbia remains Melbourne.
With Kevin Sheedy residing there, one might think Melbourne is a great deal closer to outter space than Sydney suburbia ;) :lol:
Last edited by Christabella on Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Thunderstruck
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Anyone remember the naming competition period? I mean the first article that mentioned the Storm as a strong candidate was March and then the name was announced in September. Did it run for six months only to receive 1000+ entries?
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I remember one of the favourites is Viper.
DEAR STORMWARING(C), PLEASE LEAVE!!!


THANKS FROM THE AASHOLE OF THE BAI STAND
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thinga87
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The first choice name was the Mavericks too, but Lachlan Murdoch stepped in from memory... If I open the vault again I'll probably find something about that. I think he thought "Mavericks" to be just a tad too American.
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Nah I like Storm better Mesathinks (there ya go my only reference to star wars that i'll ever put on this forum is an impersanation of Jar Jar Binks "Mesathinks")...oooh somebody shoot me


Back to the point...I reckon Storm is an awesome name :)
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thinga87
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I couldn't think of it being anything other than Storm now :D

Was just thinking about this whole name thing the other day with the crapalicious moniker the WA Rugby team got... bit like the crummy A-League names... but I digress yet again! :lol:
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TS, the naming comp was run through the Herald Sun not sure how long it ran tho.
You would be surprised how many weird & wonderful names were submitted, from the Penquins to the Thunders (tho that one was pretty close) etc.
I saw a few of the entry forms a few years ago & they were pretty funny. :lol:
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Lord Reynoldson
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What is the Perth name going to be?
Glory, Glory to South Sydney!
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