NRL's Storm 'best team' in Aussie sport
Former NRL coach Nathan Brown believes Melbourne have been the best of all Australian sporting teams over the past 20 years.
The Storm have played in nine grand finals, winning six of them since clinching their maiden premiership in 1999. But two of those titles were stripped for salary-cap breaches.
Melbourne are hot favourites to feature this season in a 10th grand final, averaging one NRL decider every two years over the past two decades.
The only team to come close the Storm's record in the same time are the Sydney Roosters who have played in seven grand finals for three victories.
This season, the Roosters are looking to become the first club in the NRL era to win back-to-back titles, while Melbourne are chasing a fourth-straight grand final appearance.
Former Newcastle and St George Illawarra coach Brown said the Storm's dominance could be attributed to two men - coach Craig Bellamy and 36-year-old captain Cameron Smith.
"They've been, I think, the best sporting club in Australia for 20 years," Brown told Fox Sports NRL 360 program.
"What Bellyache has done there, they consistently finish first or second. Obviously, the coach is at the top of his field but Cameron Smith, to me, is playing as good as ever and is the most-influential player playing the game today."
Finishing as 2019 minor premiers, Melbourne host Canberra on Saturday in a qualifying final.
But former Brisbane and Penrith coach Anthony Griffin said the Roosters were still the team to beat, ahead of their qualifying final on Friday against South Sydney.
"They're still the premiership favourites for me - they're strong right across the park," Griffin said.
"They've had a lot of easy wins against bottom-eight sides over the last five or six weeks and the Rabbitohs played out a really strong 80 minutes which caught them by surprise (last week).
"But I think it'll tune them up more than anything. I don't think they've got anything to worry about ... the Roosters still have another level in them."
Manly host Cronulla and Parramatta welcome Brisbane in this weekend's two elimination finals.
© AAP 2019