The Melbourne Storm are about to celebrate their 25th year as a member of the NRL during Friday night’s clash with Parramatta at Marvel Stadium.
Nothing wrong with that, right? It’s a solid quarter-century milestone any club would be proud to celebrate.
But a detail in the poster the club has produced to celebrate the night has been rightly savaged since it was put on social media earlier on Friday afternoon.
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Among the promise of a 25-year montage, a live guitarist and an old boys guard of honour on the night, the club has posted six NRL Premiership trophies with the years ‘99, ‘07, ‘09, ‘12, ‘17 and ‘20 alongside them.
The only problem, of course, is that those 2007 and 2009 titles were stripped by the NRL for one of the biggest salary cap rorts the game has ever seen.
To add just a little more spice to the extraordinarily tone-deaf and cocky post, they are celebrating it on the night the team takes on the Eels, the team they beat in the 2009 NRL grand final.
You will only see an asterisk in the NRL record books alongside those 2007 and 2009 premierships, much to the chagrin of the Eels and Manly, the team vanquished in the 2007 decider.
Discovered in 2010, the Storm were found to have been cheating the salary cap between 2006 and 2010, ultimately stripped of two premierships along with three minor premierships and a World Club Challenge title from 2010.
After initially denying the claims, the club eventually admitted it was running two sets of books, with the NRL stating the club had spent over $1.7 million more than the cap allowance during that five-year period.
They were also stripped of the competition points they had won to that point in 2010 and any further points for the remainder of that season in one of the blackest sagas in the sport’s history.
And now they are proudly celebrating those supposed “premierships” on their anniversary marketing.
The response on Twitter was swift and predictable.
“Absolute grubs of a club!” wrote one user.
“Here you go you putrid bunch of flops I fixed it,” wrote another above a doctored image of the celebration plans with the label “We cheated, so we don’t get these ones” superimposed over the two stripped titles.
There were a number of quips made about two sets of books being on display at Marvel Stadium on the night.
Another Twitter user surely summed up many people’s feelings when he wrote: “Surely this isn’t real. You can’t possibly be that arrogant.”
At the time of writing the post is still on the club’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, although it has been left off their TikTok and Instagram accounts.
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