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17 Dec

Storm close in on back-to-back history

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Just two things elude Melbourne captain Cameron Smith from completing rugby league’s royal flush.
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And both of them can be completed in Sunday’s NRL grand final against the Sydney Roosters.

Smith has achieved just about everything he possibly could in his 17-year NRL career.

The record-holder for the most games ever played, Smith has won four grand finals, two World Cup, 11 State of Origin series for Queensland, two Dally Ms and two Golden Boot awards.

Somehow, he’s missed out on a Clive Churchill Medal. But he’s second favourite for that on Sunday and if the Storm win, there’s every chance that will be ticked off.

He’s also captained the most successful club of the NRL-era, but through all their dominance the Storm are still yet to become the first team to win back-to-back titles in a unified competition since Brisbane in 1992-93.

Smith shied away from the feat when quizzed about the possible achievement on Thursday, but has previously made clear his desire to end the quarter-of-a-century hoodoo.

“It’d be nice to go back-to-back next year. That’s something I don’t think any team’s achieved in the NRL-era,” Smith said last November.

“I think that would be a pretty special thing to do because there’s been a few sides there in the grand final after they’ve won a premiership.

“I was involved in a couple of those teams and we couldn’t get the job done. It’s a really hard thing to do. That would be a special achievement, be part of a side that could go back-to-back.”

Melbourne have had their chances during Smith’s tenancy as captain.

They played in four grand finals in the salary-cap ridden years between 2006 and 2009, but couldn’t string together back-to-back title.

In all likelihood, if the Storm lose, Smith’s shot at pulling off back-to-back titles is over. It would require him playing on another two years, and Melbourne winning titles in both seasons.

Smith admitted the conversation had been had in Melbourne during the pre-season but hadn’t been raised since.

“It would be a special moment,” Smith said at the SCG on Thursday after Melbourne had their first training session in Sydney.

“It’s not something really that is any sort of motivation for us for this weekend. It was mentioned at the very beginning of our pre-season this year, about the opportunity we have.

“That we are the only team who can go back-to-back this year after winning the competition in 2017. But that’s about as far as it went really.”

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