In some quarters, it would not be unreasonable to assume that the Melbourne Storm would like to commemorate their 20th season of play in the NRL with a premiership.
They appear headed in that direction, provided they can maintain the sort of dominance that has them six premiership points clear of the Roosters, with a gap of 12 down to the bottom three of the top eight, the Penrith Panthers, North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Sea Eagles.
The Storm cannot afford any sort of off day, however, as there will be no Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers or Gold Coast Titans on which to pad statistics and won/loss record.
A twentieth anniversary premiership is more of a sentimental achievement as anything else, as the Storm has already claimed two titles, the first in 1999 in only their second season in the competition, unusual, in that new clubs seldom taste immediate success. The second win came in 2012.
The Storm has a final game to play through when they meet the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on September 2. The Raiders looked competent when they got the better of the Newcastle Knights in Round 25, but the Knights are not the Storm and with less than a week until the upcoming game, it is a safe bet to assume that the Storm will not risk key players on what figures to be a mostly ceremonial game.
Further strength to that theory comes from the fact that, unlike the AFL, the NRL does not have a gap week following Round 26 and the first round of the finals. The luxury of resting key players, limiting playing time partially or entirely and permitting those bumps and bruises sustained from playing senior rugby from March to October is a luxury of which Storm Coach Craig Bellamy will make effective use.