Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by NRL Images
Last night the Canberra Raiders pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent history as they defeated and eliminated the Melbourne Storm in the first week of the NRL finals series.
The Raiders travelled to Melbourne after only cementing their place in the top eight last weekend to take on a Storm side that had at least qualified for the preliminary final every season since 2015.
Despite Canberra’s stellar record in Melbourne they were viewed as the underdogs heading into the game.
Ricky Stuart’s side managed to win 28-20 which saw the Storm eliminated in the first week of the finals for the first time since 2014 where they were beaten by the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 28-4.
In what could be considered a good omen for Canberra, the Bulldogs would go on to qualify for the 2014 NRL Grand Final.
After the game fans and the media did not know what to expect to hear from Craig Bellamy but Melbourne’s veteran coach took the opportunity to praise the club’s departing players.
“Jesse and Kenny have been here since 2008. That’s a long time, and they’ve done a lot for our club,” said Bellamy.
“I think for me, today I’m disappointed, it is more for them.
Forever Storm. Thank you for everything fellas 💜 pic.twitter.com/UudNcfilZg
— Melbourne Storm (@storm) September 10, 2022
“They deserve to go out on a better note than that.
“They have done a wonderful job for us here.
“(Kaufusi) has come here… he’s turned into an Australian and a State of Origin player in that time.
“The other three have all played for New Zealand.
“They’ve done some great things since they’ve been here.”
Speaking of International representation, a large chunk of Melbourne’s squad will now be preparing to don the jersey of their respective nations at the Rugby League World Cup with the Storm expected to be represented heavily at the tournament.
Canberra will travel to Parramatta next Friday night for an elimination final clash with the Eels at CommBank Stadium.