As Melbourne Storm gears up for its sudden-death semi-final against the Bulldogs this week, a legion of Storm supporters are preparing to make yet another trek north for Sunday?s clash at Aussie Stadium.
A devoted group of over 100 Melbourne supporters ? some of the NRL?s most well travelled fans ? will make the trip to Sydney this week, as they have for the majority of the Storm?s road trips this year.
The loyal band of hardcore supporters, led by inaugural Storm member Julie Tierney, will break with routine this week and fly to Sydney, instead of making the usual bus trip north.
Tierney is among the league?s most fanatical supporters, following her team on the many road trips that make up the Storm?s season, including several trips to New South Wales, Queensland and even New Zealand.
?I think it (constant travel) makes us quite special actually,? said Tierney, who organises each road trip throughout the year.
?I think we probably do the most travel out of the supporters, you don?t see too many Brisbane and Sydney people come down to Melbourne but we?ve always got a bus going up the highway or even a plane going to New Zealand.
?Because this week?s game is on a Sunday everyone has to go to work on the Monday, which is why we?re flying up instead of catching the bus. Usually we?d head up by bus on the Friday night and get back either Sunday morning or Sunday night.
?If I can?t organise a bus then we will drive while many others will fly, so there?s not many games, if any, that get missed throughout the season.? Tierney says that the group of 100 or so supporters making the trek to Aussie Stadium this week does not include the vast number of Storm fans making their own way to Sydney.
?There will no doubt be others driving up aside from us and there may well be many others coming from interstate - we have supporters all over the place,? Tierney added.
?There are so many friendships that have been built from these trips and the people that are new to the travel always finish the weekend with new friends.?
In the wake of last week?s memorable win over the Broncos, Tierney was inundated with calls from supporters looking to make the trip to Sydney for this week?s second semi-final against the Bulldogs.
?After ringing around on Sunday night the calls on Monday came flooding in, the response was unbelievable,? Tierney added.
?Even when I told them that we would be flying up and the cost involved, they didn?t flinch, I could have told them it would cost $500 and they would have jumped at it.?
Sunday night?s return trip to Melbourne will either be a time to celebrate or the ideal chance to reflect on the season, either way the steadfast group of fans will be ready for the Storm?s next challenge.
?It will be a very noisy trip back if we come away with a win otherwise it could be a bit quiet if don?t get the right result,? Tierney explained.
?Knowing most of the group, they?ll probably be noisy anyway. Whatever the result we?ll make sure we?re ready for the following week or the following season.?
The Storm will finalise preparations for Sunday?s semi-final with a closed session at Aussie Stadium tomorrow. The team will arrive at Sydney airport at 1.20pm Saturday afternoon.