Melbourne seem assured they’ll be storming into the NRL Grand Final, after placing a hold on several ANZ Stadium corporate suites worth up to $100,000.
According to a News Corp report, the premiership favourites have asked to keep three suites aside for the grand final – if and when they make it.
But the bold move has been labelled by some as cocky, while others are questioning whether it is a show of arrogance or if it is just a well thought out plan.
“Win or lose, they just might want to be there, probably plenty of people going who’s teams won’t be there,” tweeted @KellyNeville13.
“Arrogant mob,” tweeted @CGarness.
“Booking accommodation for Grand Final week where it’s a 50/50 bet that you will need it? That being prepared,” tweeted @fromauberdriver.
“Melbourne Storm already promoting GF packages is world class cocky p**** move on many a level. If that doesn’t fire up the boys I don’t know what will,” tweeted @RichOssington.
The Melbourne outfit will look to overcome the Cronulla Sharks on home turf this Friday night, to seal a third-straight grand final berth.
It will a special occasion nonetheless, as Billy Slater gears up for his final match at AAMI Park before retirement.
The Storm are backing themselves to go all the way though, with the Daily Telegraph report also uncovering that the Sharks, Roosters and Rabbitohs all had the option to also place suites on hold – but they refused until after the preliminary final results are in.
According to the ANZ Stadium website, a 20 person private suite “delivers quality service with modern and comfortable surroundings with exceptional views from your own private balcony”.
The suites also include a premium location, gourmet cocktail and buffet menu, premium beverage packages, dedicated customer service staff and more.
Storm CEO David Donaghy wasn’t phased by suggestions the corporate suites were anything but what they routinely do, finding themselves in the same situation for several years.
“We’re following the exact same path as we have the last three years,” Donaghy told the Daily Telegraph.
“Like all good clubs at this point should have, you have a plan A and a plan B and then you wait to see where you land on Friday night, which plan you enact.”
“It’s merely placing them on hold and it’s the same invitation which is made to Cronulla, the Roosters and South Sydney.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we of course know what is at stake and Friday night is our focus.”
Retiring Slater leaves a mark on Melbourne
Win or lose, Friday night’s NRL preliminary final against Cronulla, Billy Slater has left an indelible mark in Melbourne.
Ahead of his last game at AAMI Park, and dependent on the result possibly his final NRL match before retirement, Slater has been honoured with a giant mural painted on a wall just a stone’s throw from the ground.
The 35-year-old, who has spent almost half his life at the Storm, said he was humbled to have a mural commissioned by the club and painted by Sid Tapia.
“It’s an iconic precinct here in Richmond with AAMI Park over the road and the MCG – it’s a great area for sport so to have my mug on the wall is pretty humbling,” Slater said on Tuesday.
The mural is an image from last year’s grand final of Slater holding up the premiership trophy, wearing the Clive Churchill medal for best on ground.
The fairytale would be to bow out repeating the feat, with the team coming first for the Test and Queensland fullback.
“The beauty of my situation is that the position that we’re in is far bigger than myself,” Slater said.
“If we play well we’ll give ourselves the chance to play in a grand final and that’s what we’ve all been working really hard for, for the last 11 months.
“Either way it’s my last game in Melbourne so it’s pretty special.”