The NRL Match-Up: Best NRL dynasties

Posted: 18 July 2019 11:30 am News

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We compare the sides that have dominated the NRL era.

With the NRL back bigger and better than ever, we thought we'd do what we do best at Finder and start comparing everything NRL. Each week we take a look at one aspect of the game, from the spectacular to the silly, to see who comes out on top.

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As a fan, there's nothing better than seeing your side come out on top year after year. Given the level of competition in the NRL, putting together a dominant team can be hard enough, but keeping it together is another issue entirely.

While no team is ever likely to come close to the heroics of the St. George Dragons, who won 11 consecutive premierships between 1956 and 1966, we see which sides have excelled over the last two decades.

The contenders

2011 NRL Round 25 - Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Melbourne Storm, Brookvale Oval, 2011-08-26. Digital image by © NRL Photos

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (2007–2011)

Achievements

Premierships: 2008, 2011

Runner-up: 2007*

Having returned as the Sea Eagles in 2003 following a failed merger with the Northern Bears, Manly spent a couple of years in the relative NRL wilderness, before reasserting themselves at the top of the league.

They finished the 2007 season in 2nd and lost to minor premiers Melbourne Storm in the Grand Final. While the Storm were later stripped of their title, the NRL took the decision to withhold the premiership altogether, but Manly fans could perhaps morally claim it as their own.

The club backed up in 2008, getting revenge on the Storm with a thumping 40-0 win in the Grand Final, a fitting swan song for retiring club legend Steve Menzies. They then lost to eventual premiers Melbourne in the qualifying final the following year, but the Storm were again stripped of their title.

Their period of success was then capped off with another premiership in 2011, when the Sea Eagles beat the New Zealand Warriors 24-10.

*Manly lost the 2007 Grand Final to the Melbourne Storm, who were later stripped of their premiership due to salary cap breaches.

2017 NRL Round GF - Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys, ANZ Stadium, 2017-10-01. Digital image by Gregg Porteous © NRL Photos

Melbourne Storm (2011–)

Achievements

Premierships: 2012, 2017

Minor premierships: 2011, 2016, 2017

Runner-up: 2016, 2018

Arguably the most consistent team of the NRL era, the Storm have been there or thereabouts for going on two decades now. Thanks in no small part to coach Craig Bellamy, as well as all-time greats like Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, the club has consistently managed to keep its place at the top table.

Melbourne even weathered the resulting storm of their salary cap breach in 2010, which saw them stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships, as well as three minor premierships. While this will forever leave an asterisk next to the club's achievements in this period, it's hard to deny their ability to bounce back at the highest level.

Following the departure of Cronk at the end of the 2017 season and Slater's retirement last year, the Storm have so far maintained their high standards and look a good bet to go the distance again this season.

2000 NRL Round GF - Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters, ANZ Stadium, 2000-08-27. Digital image by © NRL Photos

Brisbane Broncos (1998–2000)

Achievements

Premierships: 1998, 2000

Minor premierships: 1998, 2000

Fresh off their Super League success in 1997, Brisbane quickly established themselves as the pre-eminent team of the new NRL era, finishing as minor premiers and premiers in the inaugural 1998 season.

Having dominated Australian rugby league for much of the 90s, the Broncos then opened the next decade in style with another minor premiership and premiership double in 2000. While they had to wait another six years for another premiership, the side made the finals in every season from 1998 to 2009.

2018 NRL Round GF - Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm, ANZ Stadium, 2018-09-30. Digital image by Nathan Hopkins © NRL Photos

Sydney Roosters (2013–)

Achievements

Premierships: 2013, 2018

Minor premierships: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018

The reigning champions ended last decade as the wooden spoon holders, but since then have slowly rebuilt themselves as one of the most formidable sides in the NRL. A few years outside the top eight led to a premiership and minor premiership double in 2013, backed up by consecutive minor premierships in 2014 and 2015.

Under the leadership of Trent Robinson, who took over as coach in 2013, and with players like Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend and Mitchell Pearce coming through the ranks, the side went from strength to strength and were rewarded for their efforts with another premiership double in 2018.

The verdict

Sydney Roosters (2013–)

They have the trophies to match the achievements of any side in the NRL era. With the recruitment of Cronk and James Tedesco in 2018, and the emergence of Latrell Mitchell, they don't look like they'll be slowing down any time soon.

The only real area of improvement is in turning their regular season dominance into more Grand Final attendances.

Don't agree with our picks? Have your say below. Read all our Match-Ups here.


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