The 5 greatest teams in NRL History
Since the NRL’s inception in 1998 there have been many great teams, but what separates the great from the good? A premiership victory, that’s what.
Of the NRL’s 23 completed seasons to date, there have been 21 premiership teams excluding the 2007 and 2009 Melbourne Storm who were stripped of their honours due to a breach of the Salary Cap.
Of the remaining 21 sides, only seven teams have won the minor premiership and gone on to win the premiership in the same year.
To be considered as one of the greatest teams in NRL History the team needs to have not only been dominant in the finals series, but the regular season as well.
5. 2010 St George Illawarra Dragons
The 2010 St George Illawarra Dragons premiership season will be remembered as one of the most impressive in NRL history, building their success off the back of ruthless defence.
The team lead by Ben Hornby had a host of stars including Darius Boyd, Mark Gasnier and Jamie Soward, anchoring the side to a 17-7 regular season record.
The Dragons conceded an average of 12.4 points per game for a total of 299, 64 points fewer than any other team in the competition.
They were famous for strangling their opponents out of the match with their near unbreakable defence, as they did in their grand final win.
The Dragons went into half-time down 6-8, before reigning in another 26 points after the break without having their try-line breached once more in a game that represented their season beautifully.
In his second season as coach of the Dragons, the “super coach” Wayne Bennett delivered the clubs first premiership in 31 years on the back of two consecutive minor premierships, despite only ranking eighth in points scored.
This was a memorable season not only for dragons fans, but rugby league fans as a whole.
4. 2000 Brisbane Broncos
The 2000 Brisbane Broncos premiership season was their second time taking out the premiership within 3 years, dominating teams on both sides of the ball all season to finish with a differential of 308, 154 points higher than anyone else.
The side boasted some of the most prestigious names Queensland Rugby League has ever seen, with a young Darren Lockyer headlining a list of starts including current Broncos coach Kevin Walters, Shane Webcke and Gordon Tallis.
This broncos side was best remembered for their thrilling style of football, throwing around the ball effortlessly and scoring some of the most entertaining tries.
The star studded team piled on near 700 points in the regular season to cruising to the minor premiership six points clear of their eventual grand final opponents the Roosters.
The Broncos knocked off the next best team of the year 2000 in an 8 point victory, 14-6.
Wayne Bennett lead his team to one of the most dominant attacking seasons the NRL has ever seen, finishing the regular season 18-6-2.
3. 2013 Sydney Roosters
The 2013 Sydney Roosters won the premiership in stunning fashion, defeating the Manly Sea-Eagles in a controversial grand final that will be etched in rugby league folk-lore for years to come.
The Roosters team led by rookie coach Trent Robinson marched into the post season as minor premiers, with an average winning margin of over 12 points.
The Roosters won the 18 games in the regular season, tying with the Rabbitohs on 40 points. The leagues number one ranked attack and defence gave them the nod as minor premiers thanks to their remarkable 315 point differential.
They dominated every aspect of the game, with unmatched star power across their entire 17 man line up.
Sonny Bill Williams famously signed with the Roosters, leading to a massive culture shift within the side that finished 13th the season before.
The Roosters side also boasted multiple representative players including Anthony Minichello, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce Boyd Cordner and many more.
To come from 13th to premiership winners within a year is a great achievement in it self, but to do it so dominantly is a different achievement entirely.
2. 1998 Broncos
The second greatest team in NRL History has to be the 1998 Broncos, winners of the inaugural NRL season.
The Broncos flew through the 1998 season after winning the super league premiership the year before, technically winning back to back premierships.
The Broncos side were lead by one of the greatest spines in history, with Darren Lockyer, Kevin Walters and Allan Langer running the Broncos potent offense that scored 688 points over the course of the regular season.
The Broncos grit in defence is what propelled this side into NRL greatness, conceding only 12.9 points per game in an attacking minded era.
The 1998 Broncos walked all over the Canterbury Bulldogs in the grand final, thrashing their opponents by 26 points in one of the most one sided grand final displays in rugby league history.
As if this wasn’t enough, the average winning margin in their regular season exceed 15 points. That’s ridiculous.
The 1998 Broncos played a style ahead of their time, this side would well and truly match up with the NRL’s best teams in the competition today.
1. 2017 Melbourne Storm
The 2017 Melbourne Storm are the greatest in NRL History, and it’s not even close.
The 2017 Storm side finished 6 points clear of second place, only losing four games all season finishing with a 20-4 record at the end of the season. Including the finals, this record improves to 23-4.
This side will be never be forgotten, with the Storm’s big 3 at the peak of their powers tearing opposition defences to pieces all season long.
The storm pummelled their grand final opponents by 28 points, defeating the Cowboys 32-4 and putting the cherry on top of the most dominant season in NRL History.
14 of the 17 players that ran on for the Storm in the Grand Final have represented either their state or country, fielding the most unbeatable side the NRL has seen.
Melbourne also cleaned up at the end of season awards, claiming the following awards:
Captain of the year – Cameron Smith
Coach of the year- Craig Bellamy
Top Try scorer – Suliasi Vunivalu
Fullback of the year – Billy Slater
Hooker of the year – Cameron Smith
Player of the year – Cameron Smith