Greed. It’s a deadly sin. In Melbourne Storm’s case, it’s proven to be deadly.

Storm…in happier times.

The need to be the best has finally caught up with the Storm, a club which is suffering badly in the aftermath of some terrible decisions. Storm was stripped of its 2007 and 2009 premierships and its prize money plus all 2010 premiership points for breaching NRL salary cap rules.

The intensity of competition has meant people have resorted to cheating to get the winning edge. The excuse we hear is … “everyone’s doing it”.

Greed is a product of the evil side of human nature. Many sporting leaders have unfortunately lived off the words of some of the world’s greatest coaches and athletes.

American football’s classic quote, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”, has been taken a bit far. Is it really worth destroying your reputation in pursuit of winning premierships through cheating?

Storm’s former chief executive Brian Waldron just took it too far. He knows he did, otherwise he wouldn’t be in hiding now.

The forces of evil often come into play when we see a club leader succumb to the pressures of winning. Waldron carried the weight of the Storm community. If you can’t wave a magic wand, cheating is not the answer. Cheating is an option for the weak.

As Craig Bellamy so rightly pointed out on Saturday, winning is the product of a pool of blood, sweat and tears.

Ultimately, the size of a pay cheque will not make you a better player. Good performance is a reflection of a a man’s character, talent, hard work, his willingness to make sacrificial acts for the team and building the team as one unit.

No doubt, there are many innocent people hurting in the Storm camp. I would like to be optimistic and say that the players will ride through this Storm and stick together.

But frankly, I don’t think it will happen. With the prize money lost – and all pay cheques scrutinised – it’s going to be a lot tighter at the Storm. Opposing clubs will go on fishing expeditions, hanging the bait in front of players’ eyes.

Greed. It’s killed sporting clubs before. It’s killed playing careers. It’s killed relationships. But will the players have the fortitude to resist temptation and stay united?

I don’t think it’s going to happen. Human nature will come into play and when the players see the dollar signs wave in front of them, they are more likely to leap.

The players have families and investments. Why should they suffer in a crippled club?

Only integrity and character will save Storm players, as they strive to re-build their club and remove themselves from the financial woes that have threatened their existence.

Good luck to Bellamy, who has the unenviable task of keeping the Storm’s superstars together. It won’t be easy and the strain will impact on relationships at the club.

It’s a fact of life that at least one of the seven deadly sins will destroy a club or its personnel. These sins will haunt its victims – sometimes for life.

- Julie Tullberg is a Herald Sun journalist with expertise in sports psychology.

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60 comments

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    • Old Clive says:

      08:33am | 26/04/10

      The reason that Melbourne’s storm was or is so good is the fact that there is nothing else to do in Melbourne during the day to distract the team or it’s fans

    • Good point says:

      02:59pm | 27/04/10

      Good point Old Clive. Melbourne doesn’t care about league. Did they care when they actually won? Not sure.

    • Jacki says:

      08:59am | 26/04/10

      Good luck to Bellamy???  he knew what was going on, as did the main players.
      and their managers.
      Im sure this will have long going results.
      They cheated and got caught.

    • Greg says:

      10:09am | 26/04/10

      “Only integrity and character will save Storm players, as they strive to re-build their club…”. Their club? Players ceased having integrity towards ‘their’ club when clubs stopped drawing players from the areas in which they were located.

    • Matt says:

      03:01pm | 26/04/10

      You seem very confident of this. Could you please take your proof to the NRL and the Victorian Police as I’m sure they’d be very interested with these developments. If you’re just talking crap then I suggest you refrain from making comments that have no basis.

    • Suspicious says:

      02:13pm | 27/04/10

      Do you really reckon the players and Bellamy knew everything? I would be suspicious if someone gave me a boat and a $20,000 voucher.

    • Trent says:

      03:08pm | 27/04/10

      How many players have boats? I think there needs an inquiry. Bring in an independent commission. The game’s all over the shop.

    • BTS says:

      03:08pm | 27/04/10

      Only two types of people would be silly enough to have you believe that the players new nothing:

      1) The players
      2) The supporters

    • Bruce says:

      09:59am | 26/04/10

      The storm might win a few games this year, they might win all there games this year. BUT, if I was the opposing teams coach, I would be saying to the players, “put on a good show, do not get hurt, you do not have to try too hard and if you do not win, it does not matter, we are still going to get 2 points”.

    • Gavin says:

      01:14pm | 26/04/10

      teams playing storm still have to WIN to get the 2 points

    • Dan says:

      11:33am | 26/04/10

      Craig Bellamy is as strong as they come. If the players stick with him it will be one of most incredible achievements in australin history Go boys. Stick together.

    • Al says:

      11:37am | 26/04/10

      Of course other clubs willmoffer the storm players big dollars yeah, they might move on and get better contracts

    • Harry G says:

      11:41am | 26/04/10

      Too harsh for the storm to play for nothing. The club should fight that. Such a rubbish ruling. So angry grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

    • Stacey R says:

      11:45am | 26/04/10

      It’s as if you have a crystal ball Julie do you really think the team will split? God knows

    • Tom P says:

      11:48am | 26/04/10

      Jesus the team is not dead, look how they played last night they were possessed proud men those guys give them some credit

    • Danny says:

      01:31pm | 26/04/10

      They are dead, what we are seeing right now are the death throws of denial.  When it comes out that the players knew more than what they’re pretending at the moment, more people will turn their backs. People don’t like being taken for fools.

      They drew 2k fewer on Sunday, in what was basically a referendum on the sport in Victoria, than they did at their last docklands game. Sponsors are gone, legitimacy is gone, the players will either go or be forced out, and once the hysteria dies away the club will be gone.

    • Matt says:

      03:04pm | 26/04/10

      Danny: “They drew 2k fewer on Sunday, in what was basically a referendum on the sport in Victoria, than they did at their last docklands game.”

      Umm… you do realise that last night’s crowd was their 2nd highest in their history? Take your AFL glasses off for a second and realise that RL in Victoria is here to stay.

    • Harquebus says:

      12:27pm | 26/04/10

      Spectator sport is for the emotional stimulation of brain dead morons and serves no useful purpose. These morons who glorify sporting achievements are to blame.
      I am having a good laugh.

    • Sporting moron says:

      03:40pm | 26/04/10

      Sporting morons love it. Go Storm!

    • Dave says:

      01:13pm | 27/04/10

      Sounds like you could use a little spectator sport in your life, then?

    • Ted s says:

      01:03pm | 26/04/10

      Us fans are haunted by an unscrupulous admin. Disgusting. Who will take storm forward . Glad bellamy has common sense and keeping this group together & playing for their mates storrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmm

    • Fairness says:

      03:42pm | 26/04/10

      It’s not the players fault and they are hurting. Sack the admin people. That will make it fair and bring back the premiership points NRL.

    • Nat says:

      04:08pm | 26/04/10

      It would be naive to think the Storm could stay together. The players need to secure their futures. Bloody administrators! What a stuff up!

    • S.L says:

      04:59pm | 26/04/10

      My question is ..........Are the Storm players still on the same money as before they were caught out?
      News flash channel 9 has announced a review of the Storms penalty by the NRL!
      Are they to be slapped with the same wet lettuce as many of the NRLs missbehaving players?
      No influence by News Limited of course…......

    • Nathan says:

      07:11pm | 26/04/10

      The NRL are reviewing the penalty. My god. Maybe god is on the side of the players afterall.

    • tally ho old chap says:

      08:57pm | 26/04/10

      @NATHAN,for anybody who thinks players did not know the payments were dodgy is a fool,players are part of the negotiations,they after all the commodity being traded for services,when all is said and done the nrl cannot afford to lose a team in Melbourne .To assume the players don’t know the value of contracts or how much they are getting if the height of naivety and complete denial.They are all complicate and as such should be denied any further contracts,worldwide,sued and the assets and recovered,subject to ATO audits and frauds investigated along with managers and third parties,eg,manager and partners, spouses

    • Chris says:

      06:30pm | 26/04/10

      Melbourne has the chance to be the real spoilers in this year’s comp. By not accruing any points, they yet have the chance to deny points to the many teams they will beat.
      And the key point is this: they are still an illegal team, operating over the salary cap. They should have to come within the cap NOW, or stop playing until they do.

    • H of SA says:

      04:55pm | 28/04/10

      Spot on. They aren’t playing by the rules at present. So they shouldn’t be able to deny other teams points.

    • James says:

      06:37pm | 28/04/10

      Did you see the team they fielded on Sunday? That team is definately below cap.

    • Shane says:

      06:32pm | 26/04/10

      You telling me the players didn’t see anything wrong with gifts of boats, etc cash etc etc etc. Here’s your contract guys, and by the way, we’ll give you the occasionally luxury vehicle and wade of cash. I wonder if I’d be able to use the same “I’m ignorant” excuse in my own life if the equivalent happened at my work. “But officer, I didn’t know…” yeah right. I’m disgusted that every story I’ve seen about this has made a special point of saying “theres no evidence the players knew”. Granted, there’s no need to “go after them” so to speak, but shouldn’t such statements of innocence wait until the investigation is done? Another example of sports people getting special treatment, and a moronic sporting public waving them along.

    • iansand says:

      06:48pm | 26/04/10

      Melbourne is a manufactured team and the players are mercenaries.  There is no club loyalty.  There is loyalty to the buck.  The star players will be scattered to the four winds by the first kickoff next year.

    • marie says:

      09:16pm | 26/04/10

      iansand: Agree. They could be relocated to Broken Hill, Darwin, Perth, Cairns, anywhere. They have no pedigree.  Also, the players knew nothing about the extra payments ? So, what does their tax returns show against estimated stated earnings on their contract. Well, call me stupid and slap me over the head !!!

    • Dan says:

      10:03pm | 26/04/10

      So, unlike in every other occupation where people make decisions based on money, League players (and other sportsmen) are mercenaries? Also, considering that clubs don’t show loyalty to players, why are players obligated to show loyalty to clubs?

    • Jim Walker says:

      04:57pm | 27/04/10

      All these extra payments which they didnot really under stand! The club just guaranteed that every player for the last four years is going to get a tax audit, then you will hear some real screaming of pain. The Tax man is on a bonanza.

    • carl j says:

      08:32pm | 26/04/10

      You will find that the Storm players will break up. They have to protect their futures. It’s a damn mess.

    • Bev says:

      10:15pm | 26/04/10

      The team that played last night is still an illegal identity under the present rules of the NRL, whether they are the right rules or not- they are the rules at the moment . I do not understand how come the Warriors were made to play an illegally formed team last night. The Storm is still affecting the ladder using a team that has rorted the salary cap system. I am not a Warriors supporter but I do feel for any team that has still to play the Storm in its present format.

    • Wayne says:

      10:25pm | 26/04/10

      Greed is something you would know a lot about Julie. You look as though you would scoff all the pies and sausage rolls at a footy teams pie night…

    • Tony Lindsey says:

      10:39pm | 26/04/10

      Seems the storm have been more heavily penalised retrospectively than other salary cap breakers like Canterbury.. NSW thing?

    • stephen says:

      11:50pm | 26/04/10

      Melbourne (the town),  must be guilty of something.
      Perhaps the duffle-coat and steamed dim-sim ?

    • BTS says:

      07:58am | 27/04/10

      How’s this for a solution:

      One player is on $700K
      One players are on $500K
      Three players are on $400K and so on…

      NRL hands out the contracts to the clubs, the clubs send them back a copy with the name on the contract and the signature at the bottom.  Everyone is under the cap and the NRL knows who’s being paid what amount.

      It won’t stop under the table stuff, but will go a long way to getting the ship in order.

    • Square Foot Baller says:

      08:26am | 27/04/10

      Luckily I live on the outskirts of Melbourne where the air seems less contaminated by any of the football leagues.  We cringe dwellers are known by our blank looks when asked shat team do we follow.

    • Seano says:

      08:57am | 27/04/10

      There is a very good point here made by Phil Gould to Gallop on the Sunday footy show. These players that the Storm have illegally held on to have largely been developed in Melbourne by Melbourne.

      So how is that fair?

      The cap does spread talent to some extent but to a far greater extent it punishes success and it thins talent by sending out of the game to other codes and countries.

      The cap should immediately be changed to have a sliding discount for long term players, the longer term the greater the discount; a family rule so that players who’s fathers, uncles and brothers played long term at the club get discounted so that family dynasties can be encouraged and a marquee player rule so that every club can lock in a super star player.

    • BTS says:

      09:33am | 27/04/10

      How many players were born in Melbourne?

    • Aitch B says:

      10:15am | 27/04/10

      @BTS

      Being born in Melbourne is not the issue. Many of the Storm players were second grade rejects or youngsters from NSW and Queensland who had little prospect of making it big in those states. Through smart recruitment and excellent coaching these players have become the quality players that they are…. and in some cases, of course, absolute out and out stars

      So tell me, BTS… how many current NSW club players were born in Queensland and vice versa? Where they come from has absolutely nothing to do with… it’s all about opportunity and persistence - and unfortunately bucket loads of money!!

    • BTS says:

      10:39am | 27/04/10

      Exactly, so if the junior wasn’t born and raised there, why should there be dispensation for ‘developing talent’ when it wasn’t from there to begin with?

    • Seano says:

      10:55am | 27/04/10

      Exactly. Billy Slater got his start with the North Devils, a Storm feeder club, before he moved south to Melbourne.

    • Seano says:

      11:23am | 27/04/10

      Because the club recognised and developed the talent. If it wasn’t for the Storm many of these players may never have made it to the NRL.

    • BTS says:

      11:37am | 27/04/10

      He’d been with two other clubs before going to the Storm, how is that any different from anyone else?  When Melbourne signed him he was 20 years old, that’s not a junior.

      He wasn’t ‘developed’ there, he was bought on a contract like any other professional player. (Norths Devils, strangely you neglected to mention is a Brisbane Club, a professional club, which has been around since the 1920’s long before Melbourne came into being).

      Wish all you want, but he was never developed in Melbourne, they took advantage of a good footballer like everyone else does.

    • Seano says:

      12:33pm | 27/04/10

      You’re joking. I know where the North Devils are BTS. Where they are is irrelevant what is relevant and what you fail to mention is that they have been a feeder club for Melbourne since 1998. Slater was developed as a part of the that organisational structure. He’s debut in the NRL was for Melbourne.

      It doesn’t matter where he was developed his talent was recognised, developed and nutured by the Melbourne club. It’s going to take time for players to start to come out of Melbourne itself. But two of the Knights’ best players come from interstate, Patterson (WA) and McManus (NT) original but their talent was developed by the Knights.

    • BTS says:

      12:57pm | 27/04/10

      He didn’t start with Norths in 1998.
      He was 20 years old when he signed for the Storm.
      Not a junior.
      Not entitled to dispensation for ‘developing’ junior talent.

    • Seano says:

      01:35pm | 27/04/10

      He played for brothers in Innisfail as a junior and North Devils (a Melbourne feeder club) and Melbourne.

      His talent was recognised and developed by MELBOURNE! He debuted in the NRL for MELBOURNE! He only played NRL for MELBOURNE! From were he has gone on to represent state and country.

      He is a product of the Melbourne system. If you’re saying that a club has no rights to the talent that they produce then you have no understanding of the game and how it works.

      Melbourne developed this players into top grade NRL players, no one else. They did break the rules but the rules punish talent, and force players to seek other opportunities like union and moving OS. The cap is not working as intended to spread talent it’s punishing success and thining talent. Therefore I suggest it should be changed. And if what Waldron is say about every other club abusing the same rules is true then the NRL are going to be forced into a major rethink on the cap and the Storm’s punishment.

    • BTS says:

      01:56pm | 27/04/10

      Well we are getting somewhere, you accept that he wasn’t a Melbourne Junior.

      The cap aims to spread talent, so that one team doesn’t dominate the code and make it boring year after year.  In this the AFL have it right with the lower teams getting first picks, which is why St Kilda are doing so well.  Otherwise you get the to US situation where the good players earn millions and no one can afford to pay them and you pay more for television and game attendance.  There are implications.

      I laugh at the inference that without Melbourne, Billy Slater would not have made it in the NRL.

    • Seano says:

      03:28pm | 27/04/10

      Laugh all you want BTS. But Melbourne support the development of up and coming talent through the feeder clubs like the Devils. Slater had to drive 20 hours to get a trial with the Devils. He may not have been given an opportunity elsewhere. It’s not like the Broncos or the Cowboys developed Smith, Slater, Inglis or Folau.

      I’m not suggesting getting rid of the cap I’m pointing out (if you’d bother to pay attention) that the cap isn’t working. Melbourne are essentially being punished for developing through their organisation quality players. Some of that talent may go elsewhere in the NRL like Folau but it’s is patently stupid to think that all talent stays here, even Folau is talking to rugby ATM.

      There should be consessions for marquee players, family lines, longer serving and rep players who debut whilst at your club. This way clubs aren’t punished for being successful but the still can’t hold everyone. The main stars of our game would be locked up.

    • BTS says:

      03:45pm | 27/04/10

      or Lewis, Langer, Lockyer, Hunt….

      and the poorer clubs would suffer and go out of existence.

    • Seano says:

      07:15pm | 27/04/10

      “or Lewis, Langer, Lockyer, Hunt….”

      Yes and Hunt had to go to AFL! That’s the point. I’m saying a special rule for Melbourne I’m talking about rewarding success.

      How are the poorer clubs any better off under a the system we have now? Knights are still struggling, so are the sharks and warriors.

    • BTS says:

      06:16am | 28/04/10

      Hunt didn’t ‘have’ to go to the AFL, he chose to go, he chased the money.

      If you create rules for successful teams they buy all the players, win more times and put other clubs out of business.  If you share the talent, you share the wealth and keep the game vibrant and interesting.

      Have the Knights and Warriors tasted success at all?  It’s because of the salary cap that they have.  All teams evolve as players leave, success declines and new teams get a go at the top.  Look at the Roosters this year.

      A special rule to ‘advantage’ Melbourne.  We have that now, it’s called cheating.

    • Andrew says:

      12:33pm | 27/04/10

      Greed hey? I don’t believe anyone is greedy for wanting to get paid as much as they can for what they do. It’s simply common sense. I would never work in a profession where my salary was artificially capped. For the good of the game. Pfft. For the good of the broadcasters bottom line profit. Simple as that.

      Having said that to suggest the players are completely innocent is a joke. If anyone signs a contrct and then a couple of days later signs a side agreement they ought to know something is sus. If they receive cash payments and don’t declare them as assessable income they are breaking the law and the ATO takes a rather dim view of tax avoiders.

      The PR campaign by everyone involved from Gallop all the way through attempting, in advance, to exonerate players is scandalous but understandable. They needed a single person to blame so Wladrons good because he has already left the code.

      If they are really serious I would love them to have a “truth and reconcilliation” commission. Say if you fess up no punishment and you need to honest from now on. I would bet dollars to donuts that you would see alot of clubs racing in to admit breaches.

      Final thought - I wonder how the ARL would go introducing a salary cap encompassing clubs as a whole, including coaches, administrators, medical staff etc. It would be off to court we go.

    • Mike Smith says:

      01:21pm | 27/04/10

      Julie, it’s time to forget Salary Caps and go open slather like the EPL. If it works for the wrol’ds biggest code, then why not domestic comps like AFL and NRL?

    • Seano says:

      01:36pm | 27/04/10

      It doesn’t work for the EPL though. Not well anyway. There’s only 2 teams at the moment with a serious chance of the tile. All the others a playing for spots in Europe. I don’t think scrapping the cap is the solution but I think there has to be more flexibility built into it so that success is not punished.

    • Pat says:

      01:41pm | 27/04/10

      Winning takes many variables. Firstly, you need the players. They cost money. Then you need the right coach. Then you need the right environment and facilities. Even if you have a salary cap, no system is truly equitable. There will always be people willing to exploit any system.

 

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