Don’t you just love Sweet September? The heroes, the villains, the inspired victories and the gut-wrenching losses. The poetry of finals footy. Predictably unpredictable.
With Premiership glory knocking, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane to look at the most memorable finals moments Melbourne Storm has experienced since the formation of the NRL.
Read, reflect and tell us what your favourite moment is by leaving a comment below.
1. 1999 – Maiden Title
Regardless of the result, the 1999 grand final was always going to be a memorable one.
Melbourne Storm had only been part of the competition since the start of the 1998 season. Their opponents, the newly-formed St George-Illawarra Dragons, were gunning for a Premiership in their maiden year as a joint venture club.
Down 14-0 at half time, Melbourne Storm turned things around in the second stanza to record a famous victory and lay the platform for future success.
2. Cameron Smith suspension
The 2008 regular season was a successful one for the Melbourne boys, finishing in first place on the ladder for the third consecutive year.
But the chances of a third grand final victory in the club’s short history were dealt a severe blow with the suspension of instrumental captain Cameron Smith.
Smith was handed a two-week suspension for unnecessary head or neck contact on Brisbane’s Sam Thaiday, and missed the preliminary final win over Cronulla as well as the loss to Manly in the decider.
While we can’t be certain the result would have been different, Smith has arguably been the best hooker in the game over the past several years, and his controversial absence certainly stung.
3. GI grabs the Churchill Medal
In perhaps one of the best games of his career, Greg Inglis dominated the 2007 grand final, earning himself the Clive Churchill Medal for best on ground.
Scoring twice, Inglis mixed strength, agility and speed to leave the Manly defence looking amateurish.
His second try, in particular, was a brilliant effort - combining with Brett White, narrowly avoiding the sideline, pulling out a patented fend and diving over to clinch the victory for his side.
4. Craig Smith gets KO’d, Melbourne win
As mentioned previously, the ’99 grand final was a memorable day for Melbourne Storm fans, but the result could have been different if it was not for a late penalty try.
With only minutes remaining, a Brett Kimmorley bomb found a flying Craig Smith in the Dragons’ in-goal area. Jamie Ainscough was found by the video referee to have tackled Smith high, and the penalty try was awarded, clinching our first premiership.
Without doubt one of the most controversial moments in grand final history, but one which will resonate with Melbourne Storm players, staff and supporters for years to come.
5. First year finalists
Making the finals series is always an achievement for any club, but to do so in the first season of existence is impressive and Melbourne Storm achieved that feat in 1998.
Melbourne shocked the competition by finishing in third place at the end of the regular season. They then went on to defeat the Raiders 24-10 in the semi-finals before losing to eventual premiers Brisbane in the preliminary finals, beginning an intense rivalry that lives to this day.
6. Last gasp victory
Melbourne Storm’s rivalry with the Broncos was on show again in the 2008 preliminary final and it was a case of better late than never. Trailing late in the match, Storm would pull one out of the fire to win 16-14 in a heart stopping encounter at Suncorp Stadium.
The last try saw Sika Manu dominate Ashton Sims, who spilled the ball after an enormous hit from Manu on a kick return. From there, some quick hands out wide put Inglis over in the corner with less than two minutes remaining to seal a famous victory.