Rugby League Is Dead In Melbourne

Jardine PattenContributor IApril 22, 2010

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 05:  Billy Slater and Captain Cameron Smith hold the NRL Premiership trophy aloft during the Melbourne Storm NRL Grand Final Reception at Visy Park on October 5, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

"Moving on, I also stated in the previous article that I do not like the NRL pushing into the Victorian market, which will not accept the Rugby League, as opposed to focusing on areas known for their Rugby League ties. The AFL has too much of a stranglehold on the market down there, and no matter how much money they put into the game in the area, and no matter how many big matches they put down there...the market will not accept the sport."

That quote is from an article I wrote last year, and it could never be more true than today. Rugby League in the Victorian market is now officially dead, and to continue to push into that market would be a stupid move by the NRL.

The Melbourne Storm have been found out to be a team that has rorted the salary cap for the last five years by $1.7 million. That is a remarkable amount of money.

Just think of those five years, too.

  • Minor Premiers in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
  • Major Premiers in 2007 and 2009.
  • Four Grand Final appearances in a row.
  • Numerous players representing their state (which wasn't Victoria, by the way) and their country.
  • And a World Club Challenge championship.

All of it means nothing anymore.

I have been wondering for many years about how they could not be breaking the salary cap. It is obvious that they were. They had too many 'names' in their side, for too long, and were under the cap?

Now it has been exposed that they were breaching the cap the entire time, and with that, the NRL push into the Victorian market is dead. They were trying everything they could think of to get fans, and i'll admit, they were getting a good amount of fans...but who wouldn't if they were in four Grand Finals in a row?

Any team would be getting fans to their games if they had a streak like that. But imagine if it was in an area that actually supported the sport, unlike the Victorian market, which barely noticed the team apart from them being intruders into the AFL heartland.

Imagine if the team doing this remarkable feat was a Central Coast side! They would be making absolutely millions for the sport.

What could save the Melbourne Storm? Nothing.

The team, as far as I am concerned, should leave the competition. It was an interesting experiment, but it failed miserably years ago, and it was flailing about like a headless chicken for those years.

Now the chicken has crapped out its heart and does the Mexican Hat Dance upon it. Let it die before it embarrasses itself and the sport of Rugby League anymore than it has done so now.

League in Melbourne is dead. Move on, and focus on the Central Coast.

I hear that there has been a team wanting that area for a while, something to do with Bears? That sounds good.