Bombers drama shows why Bellamy is such a great coach

greg prichard Roar Rookie

By greg prichard, greg prichard is a Roar Rookie

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    Craig Bellamy is the king of predictable, reliable rugby league - and unearthing new or recycled talent. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    Watching the media conference to announce the penalties against AFL club Essendon last night, I got a stark reminder of how good Craig Bellamy is as a coach.

    It came when someone in the media throng asked AFL boss Andrew Demetriou about the fact that with the Bombers suddenly playing for no points their game against Richmond on Saturday would be reduced to “dead rubber” status.

    The question was delivered with great concern, not like it was the end of the world but close to it. It was, like, would anyone turn up? Should we be afraid?

    I was reminded of when George Costanza swallowed a fly and, panicking, he cried: “What do I do?! What could happen?!” (Well, maybe not, but any excuse to repeat a line from a Seinfeld episode).

    It was at that point, I thought: “Hang on, Melbourne played 20 games like that in 2010, and they won more than half of them.”

    I checked the results and it was actually 18 dead rubbers, after the Storm were denied the opportunity to play for premiership points as one of the penalties for several years of hard-core cheating of the salary cap.

    They won 10 and lost eight. Before the extent of the salary cap drama was exposed and the penalties handed down they had played six games, winning four and losing two.

    Bellamy had coached the Storm to win two premierships that were stripped from the club, and he coached them to win a legitimate premiership last year, but I believe his coaching effort in 2010 was his greatest.

    To be able to get his players to stay pretty well on track and competing strongly, putting the hard work in and taking all of the hits, when there was nothing that could come of it in terms of playing in the finals series and possibly winning the premiership, was awesome.

    There were a few times during that period when it was clear the Storm had dropped their bundle and were finding it hard to keep going, but each time they lifted and got going again.

    Through the middle of that 18-game stretch, in a period when the State of Origin series was going on and Melbourne often have trouble anyway, they lost five out of six, but they recovered to finish the season with five wins in their last seven games.

    Had they been collecting points, they would have been in fifth place entering the finals.

    As good as Melbourne’s superstar players are, that wouldn’t have happened without Bellamy finding it within himself to keep driving the whole thing when it would have been so easy to just say: “Stuff this.”

    And it serves as a warning that, while there has been a lot of understandable excitement this season surrounding the performances of Sydney Roosters and South Sydney, the Storm are still a huge part of the premiership puzzle.

    They are going to have to play away from home in the first week of the finals, as either the third or fourth-placed team, but they are still going to be in with a great chance of beating either the Roosters or the Rabbitohs.

    The Storm are the only team in the top four that is unbeaten against the other top-four teams, having recorded two wins over Souths, one over the Roosters and a draw against Manly.

    And when they get to the finals, Bellamy and his “big three’ – Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith – will enter the zone and prepare like a champion boxer getting ready for another title fight.

    Bellamy has got the proven record and he’s got the big-time players, which is why, unless you follow the Storm, you’ve got to fear them.

    greg prichard
    greg prichard

    Greg Prichard has spent all of his working life in the media, from way back when journalists were still using typewriters. He has covered rugby league, football, AFL and various other sports for News Limited and Fairfax newspapers and also worked for magazines, radio and pay television. Twitter: @gregprichard

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    The Crowd Says (88)

    • August 28th 2013 @ 6:36am
      Ken said | August 28th 2013 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      Damn straight no one will know what it was like for my team to turn up for 18 games for no point s and being abused by opposition fans ,our fans were abused and even assaulted at some games but we stood firm because that’s what a true supporter does,in the end that year made the storm stronger and even more determined to succeed,I wonder if any other team or set of players could have gone through that?,the bombers have to play a handful of games not the 18 we did,god I hope there are no side effects for those poor players healh wise,James Hird your a disgrace,Danks used those young men as guinea pigs .

      • August 28th 2013 @ 9:58pm
        Andrew said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

        You bag out James Hird yet your favourite sons signed x2 contracts and are therefore in the same boat as James Hird if not worse cheats as you say it. Melbourne storm players or bellamy have never even said sorry to the nrl fans. The truth will come out one day and it won’t be pretty for the it 3.

      • August 29th 2013 @ 1:29am
        Tom said | August 29th 2013 @ 1:29am | ! Report

        Well a few of my other comments weren’t let through so perhaps I’ll be a little nicer. The melbourne storm cheated, they were punished for it. Through that time they copped alot but that’s all part of punishment. However you praise them by saying no will know what your team went through by still turning up and playing. Although this is likely true and I respect the attitude they took during their situation, you can’t forget that the abusing from the fans is because your team broke the rules, disadvantaging theirs. They and you hard a tough period because they cheated and it was what they deserved so please would you stop with the praise and the “woe is us” and can we all move on. They are doing great things now so stop bringing up the past! Tom

    • August 28th 2013 @ 7:01am
      oikee said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Unstoppable, the Storm are without doubt the greatest team of the last decade, and a true role model of the game.
      Clean cut lads, no nonsense and real ambassadors for the code in the second largest city in Australia.
      We need more clubs like the Storm, and with a membership now heading towards 20 thousand, they have now moved up the ladder and into Powerhouse status.
      This code needs more powerhouse status clubs.
      Unfortunately Gallop decided it was a good idea to keep our powerhouse clubs running on empty, at the bottom of the heap, how is that working for the code, ?? No honestly, that is a question, how is that working for us. ?

      The code has gone backwards in the last few years, and as Dave Smith pointed out, not alot was done with looking at why powerhouse clubs like Penrith Parramatta or the Broncos and Warriors are now all struggling to gain momentum.

      A complete overhaul of the cap, transfer fees for juniors, a window for transfers and rewards for sinking tens of millions into grassroots would be a good start. So rewarding clubs for spending, is that not how big business runs.

      We are heading in the right direction, at least Smithy knows we have a problem, Abbott is putting money where his mouth is, and Parra really needs a bigger stadium than 35 thousand.
      They should be looking at Worldclass 50 to 55 thousand, build it and they will come. Brisbane built a 53 thousand, which is now 30 thousand too small.

      We need people with vision, not short sighted men and women. amen.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 7:13am
        Greg Prichard said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        You are a cult figure in the world of The Roar, correct?

        • August 28th 2013 @ 7:38am
          oikee said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:38am | ! Report

          The only cult i am in is the Common Sense Cult, if that is a cult.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 28th 2013 @ 9:01am
            Damn Straight said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:01am | ! Report

            And of course, common sense is a subjective term.

            • August 28th 2013 @ 10:35am
              Stu said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              funny how common sense isn’t so common 🙂

          • August 28th 2013 @ 9:10am
            Sleemo said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:10am | ! Report

            Parra should look at improving their crowds before they start considering a bigger stadium. No point building a stadium with 50-55 thousand capacity when your home crowds are around 10. Parra supporters are the biggest fairweather fans in the game but even in good times they won’t pull upwards of 40k regularly.

            Brisbane’s stadium is not 30,000 too small. To claim that is ridiculous. If they were getting 50-55 thousand to home games regularly, and not averaging in the low 30s like they are now, then maybe. Sure Origin in Qld would fill a bigger stadium but that’s Origin, not the Broncos – and having an 85,000 seat stadium in Brisbane that would only be full to capacity once or twice a year (maybe one additional time, at a pinch, if the Broncs host a prelim final).

      • August 28th 2013 @ 3:14pm
        Tom said | August 28th 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        So storm are the greatest team of the last decade? So what’s the criteria that goes into the judging competition for that title? Which team can breach the salary cap the most? Who can use dirty tactics the slyest?

      • August 28th 2013 @ 4:15pm
        Luke M said | August 28th 2013 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        Billy Slater and Cameron Smith clean cut, LOL.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 5:05pm
        Mick the Clown said | August 28th 2013 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

        ” a true role model of the game.” – Like having stars sign two contracts. – one for the salary cap auditor and the other for the payroll?
        “Clean cut lads, no nonsense….” – Like they are so clean cut they would never cheat the salary cap, or kick someone in the head while chasing the high ball,
        “We need more clubs like the Storm,” – We do not….Clubs that intentionally, systematically and inhgerently cheat, that are favouured by the refs, that the rules of the game have been changed to favour…….calls such as “surrender”, “dominant”, etc were brought in to favour the storm’s wrestling abilities.
        “Unfortunately Gallop decided it was a good idea to keep our powerhouse clubs running on empty, at the bottom of the heap, how is that working for the code, ?? No honestly, that is a question, how is that working for us. ?” Gallop changed the rules to favour the storm, but yet even one eyed stor fans cannot see it,
        “The code has gone backwards in the last few years,” No argument there. – IMO the reason is two fold. – The rule changes to intentionally favour the Melbourne Cheats, and the Melbourne wrestling tactics to slow down the play and turn games into a monotronous grind.

        “We are heading in the right direction, at least Smithy knows we have a problem,” – but he has no idea what to do about it, nor has he displayed any leadership. – Cancelling the allstar game but keeping City-country. – Sending our stars to the NZ 9’s. when teh are already suffering burn out. – If that was the way of the future then show some leadership and have the NRL run it.
        “We need people with vision, not short sighted men and women” We do, and the short sighted cheating at the Storm is not what we need

        • September 1st 2013 @ 9:13pm
          john badseed said | September 1st 2013 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

          not to mention the best coach since john Monie

    • August 28th 2013 @ 8:00am
      jamesb said | August 28th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      The Melbourne Storm IMO came of age last year when they won the premiership.

      It proved to me that there is something about the Storm. They showed me that they are a resilient club, considering what they been through.

      The Big Three and Bellamy will one day leave the club, but they will leave a legacy behind. And that legacy is resilience.

      Maybe Essendon needs to have a chat with Melbourne Storm on how to recover from a damaged situation.

      Storm have 15,000 members, and slowly a few locals coming through. Storm are as healthy as ever

      • August 28th 2013 @ 8:41am
        oikee said | August 28th 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Those two clubs are very close now i think. They use the same training grounds as well. ?
        Most codes are closer together than we know. Their is no war going on like here on the roar.

        • Roar Guru

          August 28th 2013 @ 2:18pm
          SportsFanGC said | August 28th 2013 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

          Oikee – Essendon are in the process of building a new multi million dollar training complex out near Melbourne Airport.

          The Storm train at Gosch’s Paddock next to AAMI Park, which is no where near Essendon or Melbourne Airport.

          On a side note the Melbourne Rebels and Carlton do both train at Carlton’s train headquarters at Princes Park, which Carlton redeveloped for millions.

          • August 28th 2013 @ 4:25pm
            oikee said | August 28th 2013 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

            I heard the Storm players had trained with Essendon.
            Must have been wrong.

            • August 28th 2013 @ 4:35pm
              Adam W said | August 28th 2013 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

              Don’t believe everything your hairdresser or taxi driver says.

              • August 28th 2013 @ 5:44pm
                oikee said | August 28th 2013 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

                Inglis is none of those, he said it.

    • August 28th 2013 @ 8:50am
      Johnny ball said | August 28th 2013 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Greg Prichards’ article states quiet succinctly why I admire and follow the Storm.
      You can talk about the big three as much as you like but as I have said before many clubs have the equivelent players but it is the coach which is the difference. Bellamy has that indefinable quality and ability to stay at the top of the game and mostly comes up with the right game plan by studiously studying the opposition and determining weaknesses to exploit; his guidance through the salary cap issue was exempolary and will not be seen again [hopefully]
      As Bennett and Gibson were gurus in their day I believe Bellamy is their natural successor.Look at how he turns second string players into champions through nous and dicipline.
      People who rave about the big three, cheating, illegal tackles etc are just frustrated supporters of other clubs and nothing more; think about what is happening here from the Storm, re-building, self belief and good old fashioned guts.
      Will be surprised if Storm don’t win the final again this year.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 3:23pm
        Tom said | August 28th 2013 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

        Look I would agree with you except that Bellamy coached nsw for three straight years (2008-2010) yet we still lost every time (2-1,2-1,3-0.) This screams that although bellamy might be a great coach, he needs the big players for his genius strategies to succeed. It’s either the need talent to work with style coaching, or maybe he’s just a better club coach, where he can spend more time developing players. But I wouldn’t put it down that he is what makes the big three so great because it’s the big 3 that make the big 3 great.

        • August 28th 2013 @ 3:43pm
          maximillian said | August 28th 2013 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          You can also measure Bellamy’s greatness by his influence on the modern game. When the Tigers won the comp in 2005 they done it with quick forwards getting fast play the balls & then mounting an attack against a retreating defensive line. Bellamy knew he couldn’t match this & perfected the wrestle to slow the ruck speed down to a level that gave his team an advantage. All teams now copy this defensive plan of wrestling & ruck dominance that Bellamy perfected.

          He also looked at Melbournes strength being “the big 3”, & implemented moves specifically designed for their skillset – (the triple block play where all three receive the ball out the back, the Smith outball to Cronk who then passes inside to Slater etc). All these moves have started with Bellamy & copied by other NRL teams.

          The evolution of the modern game owes much to Bellamy’s revolutionary coaching tactics & forward thinking & for that reason, he deserves recognition in the top echelon of coaches.

          • August 28th 2013 @ 4:20pm
            Luke M said | August 28th 2013 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

            Except wrestling has changed the way the game is played forever, and is hated by 99% of fans i speak to. In that sense Bellamy has damaged the game and all dirty tactics in the tackle can be traced to his tactics, which were originally squeezing the neck and bending body parts in the wrong direction. How can this be applauded?

            • August 28th 2013 @ 5:24pm
              maximillian said | August 28th 2013 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

              I agree the wrestling etc is unsavoury but all coaches are essentially copying Bellamys tactics because he is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to coaching. No other coach has come up with a plan to beat his style so even though the game has suffered as a spectacle, his coaching credentials can’t be questioned.

              • August 28th 2013 @ 6:45pm
                Renegade said | August 28th 2013 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

                You’ve nailed it max.

              • August 29th 2013 @ 1:33am
                Tom said | August 29th 2013 @ 1:33am | ! Report

                Yes, it is much like the canon-balling tackle, no one wants to do it but if they didn’t they would be at a disadvantage (kinda.) Wayne Bennett’ll back me up here.

    • August 28th 2013 @ 9:36am
      barfly said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      hang on are u all forgetting they cheated,i will say this again they cheated not only did they rob legit nrl sides and fans from grand final wins but they done this for a long period of time with no regards for their actions. THEY THE PLAYERS CLUB AND COACH WILL NEVER I REPEAT NEVER BE FORGIVEN. And as human beings u see nothing wrong with wat they done then u have never been cheated or stole from ur whole life so u could not possibly understand………………………………………………….

      • August 28th 2013 @ 11:02am
        Renegade said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report


      • August 28th 2013 @ 1:30pm
        Pest said | August 28th 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report


      • August 28th 2013 @ 1:33pm
        Clark said | August 28th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        I forgive them, maybe somebody will take you seriously if you knew proper English. To be able to keep your players motivated after playing a season for basically nothing but pride and to come back and win another premiership is such a brilliant feat. Also seeing players like Will Chambers and those alike turn into world class players under Bellamy shows that there is potential for life after the big 3, as half decent firs graders can be developed so well down in Melbourne, I don’t think I can name a Storm player who stands out to me as being absolute rubbish.

        • August 28th 2013 @ 1:41pm
          Pest said | August 28th 2013 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

          Cheats yes , rubbish well I don’t know about that, there’s no denying there quality however they cheated everyone you’ve every right to forgive em , I’ve every right to hate them

      • August 28th 2013 @ 5:43pm
        QT said | August 28th 2013 @ 5:43pm | ! Report


    • August 28th 2013 @ 9:51am
      The eye said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      If he’s the God of coaching what happened to the Blues’ SOO campaign when he had us ?Ask any jockey,trainer or Wayne Bennett-you’re only as good as your cattle.
      Belly is 1/4,with the big 3,of the smartest collective brain that has ever played the game.These guys could probably recite’The Art of War’word for word.As JohnB says beautiful pre game plans with the heads to adjust them as the game develops,is too much for your standard ‘What was that for,ref?’ leader,Mini,Lyons,Gallen.Cant see them losing this year,theyve got everyone worked out.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 3:12pm
        des right hand said | August 28th 2013 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        +1 cheats through and through and for nsw he didn’t like coaching against his players boo hoo des hasler is the best coach

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