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Stat Attack: Why Storm burst out of the blocks each year

It seems every year the Storm are expected to slide down the ladder only to leave their critics shocked when they are sitting near the top of the table after the first few rounds.

But it should no longer be a surprise, with data from the last 10 years showing the Storm are easily the best performed team in the competition when it comes to the opening seven rounds of the season.

Across the past 10 seasons the Storm's win-loss record over the first seven weeks is 54-16, and no other team comes close.

The Broncos – who have had some good sides over that same period (2010-2019) – can only boast a 42-28 record, while current heavyweights the Rabbitohs (38-22) and Roosters (37-33) are further behind.

The closest record to the Storm belongs to fellow fast-starters the Dragons, who have won 47 of their opening 70 matches from the last 10 seasons.

So what do the Storm do differently to other teams that allows them to get the jump on the opposition?

Is it the old-fashioned training techniques that veteran coach Craig Bellamy uses on his unsuspecting troops? Or maybe it's the culture and professionalism that the Storm enjoy in comparison to other clubs?

Maroons forward Felise Kaufusi is into his fifth season at the Storm and has no doubt that the work the players do in the off-season pays dividends when the real stuff kicks off.

"It's the way they flog us in the pre-season," Kaufusi said.

"You have heard all the stories. We are one of the hardest-working teams in the off-season and it goes to show on the park."

Someone who knows best is Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles, who spent two years under Bellamy as a player at the start of the decade and has been one of his loyal lieutenants in Melbourne since the end of the 2015.

Having endured two years in Melbourne as a player under Bellamy, Ryles echoed Kaufusi's sentiments on just how tough the pre-seasons are at the Storm.

But the former Australia and New South Wales prop also highlighted the professionalism and attention to detail that Bellamy brought to the fledgling club when he made the move south in 2003.

"I think it's the high standards throughout the club that Craig has instilled for a long time," Ryles told

"Attention to detail on the little things throughout the pre-season and then carrying that on early in the season and putting it into practice.

"The pre-seasons are very tough down here and they certainly prepare you.

"It's certainly a focus for us to start well, because the more wins you can accumulate early in the year certainly helps you in the back end of the year.

"Craig identified that early in his coaching career and it has been a focus on the back of pretty tough pre-seasons."

Sharks v Storm - Round 8

Ryles believes the fact the Storm support their players to achieve higher goals at representative level throughout the season also plays a part in how well they start each new year.

"A lot of those guys get an opportunity to play Origin on the back of the start to the season," he said.

"We don't bank on losing a heap of guys every year, but that just seems to be a bit of a trend down here and those early wins certainly make that period a little easier."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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