There is one problem with this. The Storm aren't even the real Australian club champions.
Because the Gold Coast Titans are the real NRL champions. Here's how...
|The true pride of the National Rugby League|
Last year I unveiled the rugby league championship belt.
|There it is, the perfect combination of leather and shininess.|
Through this method, I traced the champions up to Melbourne in early 2017, and noted their next challenge against Cronulla.
Cronulla had earned their right to challenge for the belt by winning the 2016 Grand Final, then won the title match 11-2 in Round 6, 2017. The title change involved one strong team beating another strong team. That tends to be how the championship lineage rolls.
But there are blips.
Like that the Gold Coast Titans beat Cronulla in round 8 last season, then beat them again in Round 19, to take the title to Surfers Paradise for the first time ever.
The Giants, the Seagulls, the Chargers... they couldn't do it, but the Titans are the champs!
And they have lost every match since beating the reigning premiers consecutively. This has set up a gauntlet of seven potential title matches for the 2018 season.
The matches are:
- Round 3, vs Dragons at Clive Berghofer Stadium*, Toowoomba. (Ch9)
- Round 4, vs Broncos at Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park) - 630pm
- Round 6, vs Panthers at Panthers Stadium,
- Round 12, vs Roosters at Central Coast Stadium,
- Round 15, vs Bulldogs at Belmore Park,
- Round 16, vs Tigers at Leichhardt Oval,
- Round 21, vs Eels at Cbus Super (Robina) Stadium, 530pm
Based on the list I'd say the Dragons or Broncos are the next champs, but it would also be amazing to see the Titans get through this gauntlet.
*Clive Berghofer Stadium is also known as the Toowoomba Sports Ground, which is infamous for once having its main stand named the 'N*gger' Brown stand. Edwin Stanley Brown was a top local footy player in the 1920s, apparently lovingly known as N*gger to his mates. They named the stand after him in the 1960s. I'd say the stand name was removed because we live in more enlightened times, but it took a 10 year campaign for the name to fall out of use with the stadium rebuild in 2008.