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Storm 'have to earn place in history'

By Guy Hand 08/09/2008 05:55:46 PM Comments (0)

Retired Melbourne legend Robbie Kearns says the current Storm side cannot be considered among history's great rugby league teams unless they win this year's grand final.

Kearns said the Storm's recent regular season dominance and their three-peat of minor premierships would count for little if they didn't deliver another premiership to add to their title last season.

The Storm are rated the NRL's performance benchmark, but Kearns said if they fail to win the grand final they risked falling into the same boat as the Sydney Roosters of the early 2000s.

The Roosters won just one grand final from four they made in their period of NRL dominance, and therefore are not mentioned with the great St George team of the 1960s, Parramatta and Canterbury in the 1980s and Brisbane in the 1990s as perhaps the greatest club sides ever seen.

"The Roosters were a very strong team for four or five years, but they could only win one premiership and that could come back to bite us as well," Kearns, now a Storm assistant coach, told AAP.

"Teams are not rated on minor premierships or how they've gone through the year.

"They're rated on premierships, and at the moment, we've only won one.

"We could win six minor premierships and one premiership. Then they'd say `well, they were a good team, but they weren't one of the great teams because they didn't finish the job off'."

Melbourne's hopes of securing back-to-back premierships received a boost when hard-working lock Dallas Johnson was cleared of a serious knee injury.

But Johnson, who has a grade two medial ligament strain, still faces a difficult task to be fit for the Storm's finals opener against New Zealand at Olympic Park on Sunday.

The club believes Johnson would miss one match at worst with the injury, and could even take his place against the Warriors.

More likely is Johnson will miss this weekend's match, then be available for the rest of the finals series.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith said Johnson was likely to be given until as late in the week as possible to prove his fitness.

"At the worst at this stage he might be missing one week, but I think we all know Dallas is a pretty tough customer and if he is 50 per cent right he will be playing this week," Smith said.

"Fingers crossed he will be back for us this week."

Smith also warned his NRL rivals that the Storm were only just starting to reach top gear after blitzing South Sydney 42-4 on Sunday night to secure the minor premiership.

"That was a good step towards top gear," he said of the mauling.

"Certainly we were not heading into the finals like we would have liked to with a loss a couple of weeks ago against the Knights.

"We were heading in the right direction before that but I think last night was a really big step for us.

"It was the kind of football we want to be playing in the semi-finals."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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