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Panthers, Storm lay foundation for success

There is no one way to build an NRL dynasty.

And when it comes to Sunday's Grand Final, Penrith want to take their first step towards what Melbourne have had for the past 15 years.

It was almost two decades ago Melbourne found Cameron Smith. Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk followed, while Ryan Hoffman was also key.

"Our club has been very fortunate, but ... (we) recruited some of those guys as real young kids," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"They're the guys that have made our club what it is.

"Because they've been talented players but have worked really hard to make the most of that."

And ever since, they have found the right players to slot into their carefully constructed system.

"That (mentality) has rubbed off on some of the other players and the other players that come into our club," Bellamy said.

"If they don't see (how hard they work), well, they probably don't hang around for too long.

"I believe that's what's made our club a reasonably successful club."

Eight rand Finals and four wins have followed, only missing the finals when points were stripped in 2010.

Their greatest challenge no doubt will come shortly.

Smith will soon exit and Bellamy has next year as his last as a head coach, meaning the next group will be first to do it without them.

They will still believe they can keep their success going.

At Penrith, their crop of talent means they too can be on the verge of greatness.

But their rebuild has been no mean feat.

While much was made of Phil Gould's five-year plan, the end result was never going to be seen overnight.

"When I first came to the club at the end of 2011, it was just lay it there and build from the bottom," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.

"The club's mantra has been to build from within and there has been a lot of work, effort and money by a lot of people to get that going."

In the time since Penrith's knockdown and rebuild began, Cleary has left and returned, while Melbourne's dominance has continued at the top.

But if you want long-term success, you have to do it the hard way.

"It was (the only way) for us," Cleary said.

"Every club is different. We had that junior nursery at Penrith which not every club had.

"Any successful Panthers team of the past has had a lot of local juniors in there or players who have come through the system.

Their system is now easily one of the best in the league.

They have specialised coaches looking after each age group from the early teens, while they are all taught the Penrith way from the start.

The same skills are developed in each age group as they progress, before the cream of the crop are the complete Panthers footballers when the make grade.

"Back in 2012 in my first year I think there were five guys in the top squad that have come through the system," Cleary said.

"We wanted the opposite with over 80 per cent.

"If you look now most of the team have debuted as Panthers.

"We've got a good thing going, it's just a matter of sticking with that and hopefully we can get success again."