Three grand final wins, but one premiership.
That’s what the history books officially show for Melbourne duo Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith with the club being stripped of their 2007 and 2009 titles for salary-cap cheating.
But that’s not what is etched in the hearts and minds of their Storm teammates.
Ahead of Sunday’s NRL grand final against Cronulla, prop Jesse Bromwich said he still considered his senior teammates as multiple premiership winners despite what the record said.
“If you ask me, they still have those premierships. I don’t think they can take that away from them even though they got caught,” Bromwich told AAP.
“I wasn’t there but, if you ask me, they’re still the guys that won those premierships. They deserve all the accolades that come their way. They’re the best in their positions.”
Forced to shed the likes of Greg Inglis and Ryan Hoffman when they were busted in 2010 for the rorts, a salary cap-compliant Storm outfit restored some pride with the 2012 premiership.
However, Cronk denied it was motivation then, and it still didn’t give him added drive now.
“That’s a story that has run its race,” he said earlier this week.
“Whether 2012 happened or not, or this year happens or not, that was a long time ago. People have moved on. If it is certain inspiration for certain people, rightly so.
“But for me personally, it’s doing my role for the team, the players, the club and the members.”
The 32-year-old, who will finish out his career at the one club after last month re-signing until the end of 2018, revealed a different source of inspiration to defeat the Sharks on Sunday.
Twelve of the 17 players who were named on Tuesday by coach Craig Bellamy, as well as the five on the extended bench, weren’t there for their 2012 triumph.
Only Will Chambers, Kevin Proctor, Cronk, Smith and Bromwich remain.
“My inspiration is not only the supporters and members of this football club, but there’s a few guys that haven’t experienced days like this in their football careers,” Cronk said.
“There’s a few that have and, hopefully, we can have an influence or say in those guys enjoying Sunday at the top and enjoy the moment for what it is.”