After joining the NRL in 1998, Melboune Storm enjoyed almost immediate success - winning a premiership in just their second season. The club subsequently dominated the NRL for much of the past decade, as well as twice winning the World Club Championship.
The team's enviable success rate was built on a formidable home ground advantage at Olympic Park Stadium, dubbed 'The Graveyard' by Melbourne fans, making any trip to Melbourne a daunting prospect for opposition teams.
In May 2010 the Storm took up residence at the new AAMI Park, right next to their old stomping ground.
AAMI Park offers Melbournians the perfect opportunity to enjoy the electrifying thrills and spills of rugby league at the top level. Since its inception the Storm has continued to build a base of some of the most loyal football supporters in Australia. The depth of loyalty was witnessed at AAMI Park's grand opening on 7 May (top right), when nearly 30,000 packed the stadium to see the Aussies hang on to defeat the Kiwis 12-8 in a tough, wet encounter. Two days later, over 20,000 Storm supporters backed up to see their team's AAMI Park debut. The six representative Storm players received particularly rousing support from the parochial crowd.
Despite the well documented salary cap controversy which saw the NRL strip the club of its 2007 and 2009 premierships as well as any 2010 competition points, Storm remained committed to not only surviving, but thriving. The very next season Storm claimed the minor premiership before going down to the Warriors in the Preliminary Final. Whilst a disappointing end to a brave campaign, the club recorded their highest AAMI Park attendance of 28,580 in a game that produced a typically passionate atmosphere.
Guided by long serving coach Craig Bellamy and with stars such as Slater, Smith and Cronk leading the charge, in 2012 Melbourne qualified for their 5th grand final in 7 years. Against Cantebury they stormed their way to the premiership, an incredible effort by the club given the turmoil of 2010.
Visit the Melbourne Storm website.