Storm’s Bellamy says no to NRL Nines

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    Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy says the only way his World Cup players will take part in the NRL Nines is if his club is threatened with a big fine or being thrown out of the competition.

    Bellamy says his players’ welfare comes first and he thinks the workload is already too much.

    The inaugural NRL Nines event will be held in the pre-season on Feb 15 in Auckland.

    “It just seems like we’re creating more in each year,” Bellamy said.

    “It makes a really big workload for our elite players, who play Origin and play for Australia.

    “At some stage we’ve got to look after the welfare of our elite players and I don’t think that’s happening at the moment.”

    Kangaroos and Storm fullback Billy Slater said earlier in the week he couldn’t see himself playing in the Nines, with the World Cup final scheduled for November 30.

    More than 100 NRL players will represent Australia, New Zealand, England, Papua New Guinea, Italy, Tonga and the Cook Islands at the World Cup.

    The Storm could have up to eight players involved including Australian stars Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.

    Bellamy backed Slater, adamant none of his representative players would take part.

    “Unless we’re going to get fined or thrown out of the comp or something there won’t be any of our World Cup players playing in the Nines.”

    The inclusion of the Nines, with $2.2m prizemoney, has come at the expense of the All Stars match.

    Bellamy has been involved with the Indigenous All Stars and said he was disappointed to see it suspended until 2015.

    “Something had to give I suppose but I was involved in the All Stars last year, in the camp with the Indigenous boys.

    “I must say I really enjoyed that experience and I saw how important that was to the Indigenous boys.

    “I’m pretty sad to be honest it’s not going ahead.”

    © AAP 2017

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