Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Long term readers will know I take an interest in the annual RLW Players Poll.
This year the poll is of special interest because of the range of questions specifically focussed on the Storm salary cap rort issue.
And the responses contain some very mixed news for the Storm players - who, of course, also participated in the poll.
Bearing in mind the respondents to the questions are NRL first grade players, the response to one question stands out. That question is - do you think the Storm players knew about the rorts? The answer - yes, 62 no, 38!
The next question also contains bad news for the Storm players - and the club's board and owners! Are you aware of the full extent of your salary and extras packages? Yes, 100 no 0!
And, do you know of any rorting of the salary cap - no 88, yes 11.
The players are much more divided on issues relating to the penalty imposed on the Storm by the NRL? The majority (59-33) don't believe the Storm have been banned from the 2010 competition...and by a 50-48 margin the players believe the Storm players should be given back the 2007 and 2009 premierships.
And the issue has impacted on David Gallop...while players (66-34) believe he is doing a good overall, it is much closer on whether he is doing a good job on the Storm issue (52-46).
And the players don't believe the Eels and the Sea Eagles should be given the 2009 and 2007 premierships...by a margin of 88 to 12.
The other poll questions I always look at is the players view on referees. Tony Archer has lost the top approval rating to Shane Hayne. Hayne has the approval of 30, Archer 24....a huge drop on his winning score of 45! He really has gone off the boil in the mind of players.
The worst referee title has been clearly won by Brett Suttor on 30. Hear! Hear! to that one....
And, just to stress how important the Storm are to the game, the game's best player vote went to Bill Slater on 27, followed by Cameron Smith on 19 and Johnathan Thurston on 19. Oh, and all three are Maroons!
Finally, the biggest sledger - no prizes for guessing that one...Micahel Ennis romped home with 53. The perennial winner, Brett Finch, attracted just 21 votes. Almost a saint!
Worth a read - as always!