NT News

STORM GATHERING MORE SUPPORTERS

- NICK CAMPTON

EVERYONE knows the Melbourne Storm are the most dominant team in the NRL but the most popular? Based in AFL heartland?

Support for Melbourne has surged to the point that the Storm have overtaken the four best backed clubs of last year – the Roosters, Eels, Broncos and Panthers – as the most popular team, according to a survey of 23,000 fans.

Last year’s premiershi­p win has clearly done them a world of good, with a five per cent rise in fan votes pushing them to the top.

They’re also the fans’ pick to win the title in 2021, while Manly’s Tom Trbojevic was the runaway selection as the game’s best player.

The poll also says the Storm are the side other fans want to beat more than any other (at 32 per cent, they were streets ahead of second best).

Throw in a rousing endorsemen­t for Craig Bellamy as the league’s top coach (he captured 57 per cent of the vote) and a growing belief they’ll win the premiershi­p (57 per cent of voters think so) and it’s clear why they’re top of the pops.

Parramatta skipper Clint Gutherson had an explanatio­n for their popularity.

“They’ve been on top for 40 years,” he said. “They just keep winning.”

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