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Take a bow Craig Bellamy, Cameron Smith and your Storm troopers

David Lord Columnist

19 Have your say

    It was a privilege to watch the Craig Bellamy-coached, Cameron Smith-led Melbourne Storm march into their eighth NRL decider with a 30-point whitewashing of the Brisbane Broncos last night.

    That this professionally performing club drew a full house at AAMI Park in Melbourne, right in the heartland of the AFL, proves there are many like me who delight in watching a masterclass performance.

    It was such a relief from watching the Australian batting order constantly collapse or the rubbish rugby from the Waratahs and Wallabies, while watching paint dry and grass grow has been more invigorating than watching the Socceroos.

    The same could be said for watching the Sydney Swans drop out of the AFL finals series without so much as a whimper or watching Nick Kyrgios deny Australia a Davis Cup final berth by doing his lolly for the countless time.

    The only two Australians to recently turn in such professional performances have been golfer Marc Leishman and the Matildas.

    Leishman won the BWM Championship in the penultimate FedExCup finals series by five shots with rounds of 62, 64, 68, 67 to break Tiger Woods’ course record with 23 under.

    The Matildas have twice beaten Brazil, with super striker Sam Kerr’s backward somersaults among the many highlights. The Aussie girls were so dominant that the Brazilians refused to shake hands.

    But the story of the year is the Melbourne Storm, and the man who has honed them into such a sensational side – Craig Bellamy.

    The 57-year-old has been head coach since 2003, taking charge of 392 games for 265 wins at a 67.6 per cent success rate.

    And in the process he’s mentored Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, and Billy Slater to be right up there as the best rugby league players on the planet.

    Smith is the perfect captain, he’s already made the most State of Origin appearances with 50 and the most NRL games with 357.

    He’s worn the green and gold 50 times, chasing Darren Lockyer’s record 59 with the World Cup coming up shortly.

    And last night he became the first NRL player to kick 1000 goals.

    For the record, Smith has landed 1002, Andrew Johns 917, Hazem El Masri 891 and Johnathan Thurston 846.

    With his first points in the grand final, Smith (2175) will become the second-highest NRL points-scorer of all time, taking over from Johns (2176), and setting out after El Masri’s 2478.

    Simply put, he’s just one helluva footballer.

    Last night was the 33-year-old Cronk’s last appearance at AAMI Park as he’s moving to Sydney to be with his fiancee Tara Rushton, who is a Fox Sports host.

    Thanks to Bellamy’s guidance, Cronk’s played 322 games for the Storm, 22 Origins, and 33 for the Kangaroos, but his footballing future is unknown.

    He has been making a lot of guest appearances on Fox, and with his proven knowledge of the game that made him famous, don’t be surprised if he hangs up his boots after the decider.

    Last night Slater was in full cry with two tries in his 298th game for the Storm, to go with his 29 Origins, and 25 for the Kangaroos.

    His future is also unknown, but if he keeps playing at 35, there’s no doubt he’ll remain a Stormer.

    But in spite of their standing in the rugby league world, last night the three Amigos were upstaged by a blockbusting display from Felise Kaufusi.

    All that proved is that Craig Bellamy keeps producing damn good footballers, and why the Melbourne Storm is always a damn good side.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • Roar Pro

      September 23rd 2017 @ 7:27am
      Mike Huber said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Has there ever been a better coach and/or mentor in any sport than Craig Bellamy ? Turns rejected , broken , burnout out men into absolute Thorobreds .
      Due to the salary cap many of his best players have left but they are always welcomed back to the club with open arms and thanks. When Smith broke the games record recently there was Matt Geyer and Greg Inglis clapping him on as he ran out – class personified by this great club.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:18am
        Greg said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        Has there ever been a better coach and/or mentor in any sport than Craig Bellamy? Yes, plenty – any coach who has had success with multiple teams I would rate above Bellamy, who only has a good record when he has Cam Smith in his team. He has a poor City vs Country record and the worst Origin record in NRL history as well as being the only NSW coach to lose 3-0 and being in charge of the biggest Grand Final loss in over 100 years of Rugby League. Until he can prove he can win without Smith in his team he can’t be compared to coaches who have won premierships with different teams and/or success at rep level.

        ‘Turns rejected , broken , burnout out men into absolute Thorobreds’. Can you provide any examples besides Bryann Norrie? For every Norrie there’s a George Rose or Tom Leahroyd-Lars who did nothing under Bellamy. Nate Myles played Origin this year and has turned into a reserve grader under Bellamy.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:28pm
          Al said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          What a negative person

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 5:58pm
            Greg said | September 23rd 2017 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

            How is stating a few facts being negative?

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:16pm
          LachyP said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

          Nate Myles was a reserve grader at Manly, hence them being happy to offload him. The fact he was picked for origin given his playing time before it was one of the worst selections I’ve ever seen.

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:31pm
            Ken said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

            Lol facts, no Greg storm fans don’t need your approval about Bellamy we don’t care what some arm chair wanna be experts think about the best coach in modern rugby league , he doesn’t need to be a origin successful coach lol we don’t care , he just has to take the storm every year apart from one to the finals , he just has to take the storm to 7 grand finals in 11 years and you are more than welcome to keep making your sad pathetic opinions that has no bearing on Bellamy or the storms success lol and we will keep making finals .

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:53am
      Womblat said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      It’s straight up true, it is a privilege to watch this team. So professional, even when they are getting niggled and bashed. So clinical, like a robot doctor. So disciplined, like a marching band. The biggest, most mobile and honest forward pack, slick halves, lightning backs (someone should put a speed gun on Addo Carr). And skilful, tough and flamboyant to boot. Bellamy has to be the best coach the NRL has seen in the last 30 years and Smith, Slater and Cronk at the tail of their careers about to be succeeded by a talented kid brigade … well, what more can you say.

      Things are rosy for Melbourne. It’s probably only the jealousy of Sydney that could stifle it. But why should they? Biggest Melbourne crowd ever right in the thick of AFL finals, an ocean of purple? Great to see for the sport and the future.

      They are no pantomime villain for mine. Just the best team in the comp, plain and simple.

      • Columnist

        September 23rd 2017 @ 9:25am
        David Lord said | September 23rd 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Mike Huber and Wombat, you both deserve to take a bow as well – your posts are just as inspirational.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 9:44am
      Sean said | September 23rd 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Perhaps you should do an article on how Bellamy is helping Qld continue to dominate origin.

      The fact melbourne has two feeder clubs who are made up of mostly qlders and that these players are growing to rep players under him must be a annoyance to NSW. Felise has just booked his place in the team next year I think.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 11:14am
      Sava said | September 23rd 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Top game by the Storm Team but the game was ruined by the conduct of an ex Storm player now a Bronco
      Adam Blair he should have been sent of for his late tackles and head high hits,he is a disgrace to Rugby League. and Refs all year have not stopped late tackles on the attacking kickers. I reckon that the Cowboys forwards are the only pack that can match it with the Storm . Maybe we will see them in the Grand Final. Sava

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 1:20pm
        MickyC said | September 23rd 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        I agree re Blair. Having said that, they should have been penalised for late hits all night.

    • Roar Rookie

      September 23rd 2017 @ 2:50pm
      up in the north said | September 23rd 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

      The Cowbies didn’t get pantsed by Melbourne last time they met, in fact if we hadn’t have had such an injury toll, we stood a good chance of winning on that night.

      Agree on Blair, what a grubby act from a losing player, no class.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:18pm
        Rt said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

        I thought the Blair thing sa a bit grubby but I’ve seen a lot more let go. Apart from thet Billy is a very great player but I’ve seen him do some grubby stuff in the past. I put it down to, champions hate losing. BTW I’m no blair fan.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:04pm
      Rt said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

      Ok, look this is going to be unpopular BUT Bellamy lost me when he led an orchestrated march into the field with his players behind him during the whole salary cap thing. Did we hear a mea culpa? No. We heard a Nuremberg defence. I thought it was shameful.

      Let me follow that with a couple of things:
      1. I was at the first storm GF win against the Dragons and cheered as loud as anyone ( of course I’m no fane of the dragons and the guy beside was a massive dragons fans who was completely unreasonable):
      2. I’m a lifelong roosters fan
      3. Of the roosters got caught out like the storm I’d probably feel awful BUT I’d accept we cheated
      4. I get Melbourne is a big market but if the bottom 5 teams over the last 10 years had had the same financial support as the storm they would’ve won more comps.


      • September 23rd 2017 @ 5:13pm
        Sean said | September 23rd 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

        I agree when they all walked in together as one. That was so stupid.

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