This Photo On A Private Jet Explains Everything About The Melbourne Storm

Look at this incredible photo. Just look at it.

This remarkable image of Billy Slater and the Melbourne Storm brains trust says everything about why the Storm has become Australia's most successful professional sports organisation in the past two decades.

The photo was taken on a private jet earlier this week, as key Storm figures flew to Sydney on Tuesday night to contest Slater's shoulder charge at the NRL Judiciary.

As you look at the picture, Slater is on the right. Look at the way he studies the documents before the hearing. Look at the concentration on his face. Look at the absence of distractions. He is not eating or drinking. He is not staring out the window or scrolling aimlessly through his phone. He is preparing, as only a Storm player can.

Not a moment is wasted, not a hair out of place. And that seat-belt is buckled nice and tight.

Look behind him. That's Craig Bellamy, whose win percentage as Storm coach is 68 percent since 2003. No other NRL coach comes close to his record of winning better than two games out of three. Not wasting a second in idle reflection is surely a huge part of the story behind that statistic.

On the left of the plane is Storm CEO Dave Donaghy, who was just 32 when appointed to the role in 2015. On his table is a laptop and a bottle of water. There's no afternoon pick-me-up. No other distractions. Just Dave and a job to get done.

Then there's Storm football manager Frank Ponissi, who is partially obscured. No one worked closer with Slater over this ordeal than Ponissi, and he promptly gave his star fullback lighter-than-usual duties on Wednesday to counter his emotional fatigue.

In this image, Ponissi can be seen studying the alleged shoulder charge. Studying it, studying it, and studying it again. Is it any surprise that the Storm's legal defence seemed better prepared than the NRL's prosecution at the Judiciary?

This might just be the sporting photo of the year, which is really saying something because there's no sweat, no emotion, no action. In fact, it pretty much breaks every rule about what makes a great sporting image.

And yet, anyone who knows the first thing about rugby league will recognise that the photo captures the very essence of the Storm's success, which you could concisely summarise in five words:

Preparation, preparation, preparation, preparation and preparation.

To many eyes, the picture evokes the epic black-and-white political photos of yesteryear. If these people were actually running the country, there's a fair argument that we'd all be better off.