Friday 26 September 2008

Historical Twins? Manly and Melbourne

With all the talk about Melbourne's dominance of recent seasons, I was doing some thinking about teams who have had similar eras of regular season dominance over a period of seasons and found the following rather eerie comparison. Melbourne's 2003-2008 team and Manly's 1991, 1993-1997 teams could share scarily similar legacies from their eras of dominance, should the Storm qualify for the 2008 Grand Final. Obviously they have to get through the Sharks first but check this out for almost identical eras: Melbourne 2003 (5th on ladder 15-0-9) - lost in Elimination Semi Finals to Bulldogs 30-0 to finish 6th. Melbourne 2004 (6th on ladder 13-0-11)- lost in Elimination Semi Finals to Bulldogs 43-18 to finish 6th. Melbourne 2005 (6th on ladder 13-0-11) - lost in Elimination Semi Finals to Cowboys 24-16 to finish 6th. Melbourne 2006 (1st on ladder 20-0-4) - lost in Grand Final to Broncos 15-8 to finish 2nd. Melbourne 2007 (1st on ladder 21-0-3) - Won in Grand Final over Sea Eagles 34-8 to win Premiership. Melbourne 2008 (1st on ladder 17-0-7) - to be determined but at least Preliminary Final Stage. And if you look at Manly's run towards their 3 straight Grand Finals in the 1990s - putting in their 1991 season instead of their 1992 one when they finished 8th for continuity of previous 3 playoff appearances before the 3 straight GFs you get: Manly-Warringah 1991 (2nd on ladder 14-1-7) - lost in Minor Semi Final to Canberra 34-26 to finish 4th. Manly-Warringah 1993 (4th on ladder 16-0-6) - lost in Minor Preliminary Semi Final to Broncos 36-10 to finish 5th. Manly-Warringah 1994 (4th on ladder 16-1-5) - lost in Minor Preliminary Semi Final to Broncos 16-4 to finish 5th. Manly-Warringah 1995 (1st on ladder 20-0-2) - lost in Grand Final to Bulldogs 17-4 to finish 2nd. Manly-Warringah 1996 (1st on ladder 18-0-4) - Won in Grand Final over St.George 20-8 to win Premiership. Manly-Warringah 1997 (1st on ladder 15-2-5) - lost in Grand Final to Knights 22-16 to finish 2nd. When you consider that the Sea Eagles got knocked out in the Top 5 format in what is relatively the same stage as the second week of the Top 8 Finals Format – both sides endured three fruitless years (and in two of those years got beaten by the same side convincingly – Brisbane over Manly and Bulldogs over Melbourne) in the playoffs before starting to dominate during the regular season and make three straight Grand Finals (of course Melbourne still have to qualify in 2008 but the regular season performances are the same). And if the Storm do get past the Sharks but lose to the Warriors or Manly – the Warriors being the 2008 version of the 1997 Knights perhaps? – then the respective eras will make both Manly and Melbourne almost identical historical twins.