Melbourne Storm membership surge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Melbourne Storm membership surge

By Ben Horne 29/04/2010 05:35:42 PM Comments (0)

Most expected the salary cap drama to tear apart Melbourne's loyal fan base, but it's had the opposite effect with the NRL club signing up 100 new members a day since the scandal broke.

The Storm feared revelations about systematic breaches of the salary cap over recent seasons would turn droves of supporters away in the AFL-dominated market.

Chairman Rob Moodie conceded last week that the debilitating penalties handed down by the NRL could ultimately spell the end of the Storm, but he and his staff have been buoyed by the club's membership surging past 9000.

More than 700 members have signed up in the past week and the new applications started pouring in from the moment NRL boss David Gallop delivered what many thought was a death sentence for the Storm.

"That day. It was Thursday, when we expected the exact opposite to happen," said Moodie.

"We were fearful that people would turn away and it's just been so gratifying that they haven't. I guess it really does say something about the team, how they play and the way they go about their business.

"We're up over the 9000 mark and last week it was about 8500 so we're seeing about 100 a day. I think there's still something like 300 outstanding emails of people that want to join, so we're getting some amazing responses.

"We've even had some people that have sent a withdrawal email and then two days later sent another email saying, no, don't, we're OK (with our membership)."

Moodie said the surge is a great boost to the players as they search for inspiration in a season where they can't accrue any competition points.

"It's extremely encouraging, particularly for the players and the staff to get these. They've taken an enormous hit and as you saw last Sunday night, the huge support that came out because of what happened was really gratifying," he said.

Melbourne attracted a big crowd of nearly 24,000 against the Warriors, but maintaining that for the rest of the season will be a challenge.

Many commentators suggested Melbourne might have to ditch the Storm logo and the purple colours and start afresh because of the now tainted nature of the brand.

But Moodie said he was certain the club would continue to operate under its current name and the Storm brand would rebuild.

"You've got to remember there's been an awful lot of good in the Storm and those people have been hurt," he said.

"But you rebuild on the foundation of what's been fundamentally good and worthy.

"We're considering how to get through the investigation and then how to rebuild. It's been such a devastating blow by virtue of what has happened, but we really do need to start literally with a clean sheet, and every aspect of the club has to be looked at, one of which is branding."

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