Storm soar back to NRL summit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm soar back to NRL summit

David Beniuk 19/06/2011 07:00:43 PM Comments (0)

It's a familiar position for Melbourne - top of the NRL table.

The Storm finished there in three consecutive years, 2006-08, before they were stripped of all of their prizes for massive salary cap breaches over a five-year period.

Having shed several stars to get back under the cap, the Storm returned to the top of the ladder with Sunday's 12-4 win over Wests Tigers, leapfrogging the State of Origin-battered St George Illawarra.

They will stay there for at least 24 hours, with Manly needing to beat Parramatta by 12 or more on Monday night to overtake Melbourne on top of the table.

This time, the Storm had done it fair and square after letting big names like Greg Inglis, Ryan Hoffman, Brett White, Brett Finch and Jeff Lima go - and plenty doubted they'd be in the ballpark without them.

Youngsters Matt Duffie, Gareth Widdop and Kevin Proctor have stepped up, while coach Craig Bellamy has again extracted the best out of journeyman forwards such as Adam Woolnough and Bryan Norrie.

There's a sense of contentment at the Storm.

"It's very satisfying," captain Cameron Smith said.

"At the start of the year, we never really had a target of where we wanted to be mid-year.

"The attitude has been great."

Not one to focus on the ladder, Bellamy was pleased his side was marching on through the Origin period, despite the losses of Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Dane Nielsen.

"I don't look at the table too early, certainly not before Origin finishes," Bellamy said.

"They tell me we're up there at the moment. It's a nice feeling but I'm just happy with the way we're playing."

Smith believed Origin could even have a positive effect by galvanising the club's youngsters.

"Those guys have got a really strong belief that when we return it's not just, 'Well, we'll let Billy do something or Cooper do something. We've got to do things ourselves'."

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