Purple hearts behind Storm win over Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Purple hearts behind Storm win over Eels

By Todd Balym 04/10/2009 10:53:26 PM Comments (0)

Last year Melbourne had broken hearts. This year they had 17 purple hearts willing to bleed for each other.

The secret mantra behind Melbourne's second NRL premiership in three years has been revealed with the players committing to a "Purple Heart 09" credo on their way to a gripping 23-16 win over Parramatta on Sunday night.

Just as they had "Together07" driving them towards the 2007 premiership title, the purple heart mantra was the bond which held the Storm together as the Eels threatened a remarkable grand final fightback.

"It's why we put the jersey on. You have to play with all your heart," said lock Dallas Johnson of the mantra written on the left breast of every player's jersey.

"This year has been very up and down and we've had to look deep inside ourselves and answer that call and to come out the other side and win the competition is an amazing achievement." Emotion spilled over on the field, in the sheds and again hours after the game when several Storm players returned to the field of an empty stadium to savour their amazing achievement.

The Storm were clinical in every facet of their play, but it was big guns like Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Johnson, Cameron Smith, Brett White and Cooper Cronk who held the team together when it mattered most.

Inglis came up with two crucial plays, a momentum turning try early in the second half and then the 77th minute field goal to bury an Eels fightback.

Skipper Smith, who missed last year's grand final due to suspension, said his desire to win this year's premiership wasn't from his own pain 12 months ago, but from the despair of watching his teammates cop a record 40-0 flogging from Manly.

"I realised the pain that the rest of the boys went through last year, sitting on sidelines to see all their faces and disappointment in their faces. I didn't want to see them go through that again," said Smith.

"That was the thing driving me this year, not so much me missing out, it was to see what the boys went through last year.

"No matter what happens, no matter what is put in front of us, we just keep fighting and keep breaking through our hurdles and the challenges put in front of us.

"I think we needed the result to help put out the flames from last year because losing a grand final, it's like getting daggers in your heart.

"If you lose one you really need to win one to put that to bed." Storm second rower Ryan Hoffman buried his demons from 2008 when an ankle injury left him in the grandstand with Smith, crying at what his teammates were going through against the Sea Eagles.

"You try not to think about it but it's always in the back of your mind," said Hoffman.

"But you just wipe that out when you win one.

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