NRL Grand Final: Can Melbourne Storm add a third premiership to decade of dominance?

By Sports Desk October 21, 2020

Melbourne Storm's era of dominance has so far yielded two premierships, and they get another chance against Penrith Panthers on Sunday.

Led incredibly by head coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith, Melbourne are in their fourth Grand Final in five years.

And their efforts so far in 2020 have been made even more special by the fact they left Victoria on June 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have been away from home ever since.

The Storm are three-time NRL premiers, having had titles in 2007 and 2009 stripped following salary cap breaches.

But they have bounced back from that scandal and, with the help of Opta, we take a look at their dominance.

An astounding win rate

Melbourne were handed their salary cap punishment in 2010, and in that season were deducted points and barred from earning any for the campaign.

But since 2011, the Storm have incredibly won 186 of 260 NRL games, at a win rate of 71.5 per cent. The next best? Sydney Roosters – at 59.6 per cent.

That is 10 years of dominance, although it has included just two premierships – in 2012 and 2017. Melbourne have finished as minor premiers in four of those seasons.

In that period, the Storm have a for/against differential of plus-2,288. That is close to double of the Roosters (plus-1,290).

Finals dip

For all their dominance in the home-and-away seasons, Melbourne's win rate in finals since 2011 is 62.5 – which ranks below the Roosters (63.2). Bellamy's men have played in the most (24) in that period, but have been unable to capitalise regularly in the postseason. Interestingly, the Storm average fewer points against in the finals since 2011 (14.1 to 14.5), but their points for drop from 23.3 to 19.4.

Since 2011, six different teams have won an NRL premiership, with the Roosters claiming three crowns.

Only Wayne Bennett (34) has more finals wins as coach than Bellamy (26), as the latter aims for a third premiership.

The Storm face a huge test against the Panthers at ANZ Stadium, but another premiership would further emphasise a decade of dominance.

2020 NRL Grand Final Opta facts

- Penrith have won two of their past three NRL games against the Storm (L1) and will be on the hunt for back-to-back wins against them for the first time since 2005. This will be their first ever meeting in the finals.

- The Panthers have won each of their past two NRL Grand Finals (1991, 2003), after defeat in their maiden Grand Final berth in 1990. The Storm have won only one of their past three Grand Finals despite winning the second half in all three.

- Penrith have won their past five NRL games at ANZ Stadium by an average margin of 14 points per game, as many as they had won in their 21 games at the venue prior (W5, L16).

- No team has appeared in (nine) or won (five) more Grand Finals in the NRL era (1998-) than the Storm, while only Gold Coast Titans (0) had competed in fewer than the Panthers (one) prior to this campaign.

- Melbourne have made 12 successful intercepts in the 2020 NRL campaign, the second-most of any team in the competition behind South Sydney Rabbitohs (16).

- The Penrith Panthers have scored 24 tries on the back of a penalty this NRL campaign – the second-most of any team in the competition – while only the Broncos (122) have conceded more penalties than the Storm (119) this season.

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