The 1999 NRL Grand Final Winners: The Melbourne Storm

At the end of the Super League War, and as part of the deal that saw the ARL and Super League merge their competitions, News Limited insisted on the creation of a team based in Melbourne. A Melbourne based team had been on the cards for a number of years, but with News Limited being willing to bankroll the club, the Melbourne Storm were created.

Most of the Storm players were drawn in from two Super League Australia teams that had been wound up, those teams being the Hunter Mariners and the Perth Reds. Coupled with the signing of a few veteran players, notably Glenn Lazarus, and with the signing of former Premiership winning coach Chris Anderson, the Storm had a very solid base as they lined up for their first season in 1998 which saw them finish the season in 3rd place on the ladder..

The Storm backed this up in 1999 led by Brett Kimmorley, who had emerged as one of the games best halfbacks, and with a playing style that was very flat, having more plays hit the advantage line, the Storm finished in 3rd place on the NRL ladder in 1999.

In their first game of the 1999 Finals series the Storm were absolutely hammered by the St George/Illawarra Dragons by 34-10. The Dragons might have finished lower on the ladder, but they looked red hot towards the end of the season, and their belting of the Storm was a continuation of that.

The Storm faced a tough task to get to the Grand Final after that loss.A tough 24-22 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs was followed up a week later by a 18-16 victory over the Parramatta Eels.

This saw the Melbourne Storm face off with the St George/Illawarra Dragons for the second time in the NRL Finals series, this time in the 1999 NRL Grand Final.

The Melbourne Storm – 1999 Grand Final Team
1 Robbie Ross
2 Craig Smith
3 Aaron Moule
4 Tony Martin
5 Marcus Bai
6 Matt Geyer
7 Brett Kimmorley
8 Glenn Lazarus (C)
9 Richard Swain
10 Rodney Howe
11 Stephen Kearney
12 Paul Marquet
13 Tawera Nikau

14 Matt Rua
15 Russell Bawden
16 Ben Roarty
17 Danny Williams

Coach: Chris Anderson

Melbourne Storm 20
Tries: Tony Martin, Ben Roarty, Craig Smith (Penalty Try)
Goals: Craig Smith 3/4, Matt Geyer 1/1

St George/Illawarra Dragons 18
Tries: Craig Fitzgibbon, Nathan Blacklock, Paul McGregor
Goals: Wayne Bartrim 2/3, Craig Fitzgibbon 1/1

The Dragons exploded out of the blocks, and with a 14-0 half time lead, it looked like the Grand Final was all but over. However, the Storm started to fight back in the second half, grinding away at the Dragons who let a few opportunities to with the match outright slip away.

It all culminated in the finals seconds of the match the Dragons leading 18-14, with a kick across field by the Storm being caught by Storm winger Craig Smith in goal. As he caught the ball Smith with his in a high tackle by Dragons winger Jamie Ainscough, knocking him out over the Dragons try line, and resulting in one of the biggest calls in Grand Final history.

A penalty try was awarded to the Melbourne Storm, the correct decision, and as a result the try conversion was taken from right in front of the goal posts. This was slotted by Matt Geyer, and the Melbourne Storm had pulled off an unlikely Grand Final victory in just their second season, and with one of the greatest comebacks in the games history.

Brett Kimmorely was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal as the man of the match, but most who watched the game felt Tawera Nikau should have won the medal, he was like a man possessed in this game.

Here are the video highlights of the 1999 NRL Grand Final:

Liked it? Take a second to support League Freak on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply