There’s a bleak dystopian future that clouds rugby league, a millstone around the necks of thousands of fans.
Despite what anyone will tell you, there’s only one thing that matters. Winning. Specifically, winning titles.
For so many, they’ve either never sipped from the NRL’s most prized chalice or it’s been so long between drinks the taste has evaporated.
But for two NRL fanbases, things are different. Painfully so, for the rest of us.
Yes, on rugby league’s darkest possible timeline, the Roosters and Storm will never stop winning.
LIVE stream indigenous All-Stars v Maori Kiwis in the 2020 Harvey Norman NRL All Stars match on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
It’s not simply that seven of the past 10 grand finals have featured one or both clubs. Nor that they share five titles over that decade. And it’s not even that their clubs are unlikeable pariahs; that the Roosters’ sombrero overflows with cash or Melbourne has literally squeezed the life out of the game’s most dynamic play.
The projection for these clubs is just as depressing as their recent past. Sure, they’ve lost a handful of future immortals between them: Slater, Cronk and, soon, Smith. But what both clubs have going for them provides for clear daylight between the best and the rest.
Despite the Raiders’ giant-killing 2019 campaign or the Rabbitohs’ recruitment under Wayne Bennett or the Eels’ (would the Eels be next? Manly? Brisbane?) dynamic halves combination, no two squads are better fortified for long-term success than those in Bondi and Melbourne.
If you start at the top, and it’s a really important place to start, the Roosters and Melbourne have the NRL’s two best coaches under contract in Trent Robinson and Craig Bellamy. Robbo’s won back-to-back premierships while Bellyache’s the reigning Dally M coach of the year.