Bellamy buoyed by makeshift Storm backline

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Missing the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Xavier Coates and Reimis Smith to injury from his backline, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy could have been forgiven for expecting to head to the Sydney Roosters and cop a hiding.

Instead, the Storm were able to cut Penrith's lead at the top of the ladder to just two points on Saturday with a 26-18 win at the SCG.

The Bellamy school of coaching has turned out countless players who know their role and do their job, but that was severely put to the test against the Roosters.

Of the starting backline to face the Chooks, only Papua New Guinean wrecking ball Justin Olam would have been considered a first-choice pick at the start of the year.

"He came up against Joey Manu, who is a good player who has been one of the best in the comp this year," Bellamy said.

"That was a personal duel for Justin."

Olam is nearing a new contract extension with the Storm, and proved his worth with a game-high 181 running metres from 17 carries.

"He was showing the other guys the way. He's playing busted to be quite honest," Bellamy said.

"They are really inexperienced - the two wingers and the centres - and Justin stood up and did a great job."

Stand-in fullback Nick Meaney was undervalued at Canterbury, while one winger was debutant Grant Anderson and the other - 20-year-old Victorian junior Dean Ieremia - has just 14 NRL games under his belt.

Olam's fellow centre Marion Seve has endured a difficult return to NRL level after a knee reconstruction and still only has 25 first-grade games to his name.

Despite facing a back five that included NSW captain James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Manu and wonderkid Joseph Suaalii, both Seve and Anderson bagged tryscoring doubles.

Anderson, who has been part of the Storm's feeder system with the Sunshine Coast after being let go by the Newcastle Knights, was mobbed by tearful relatives after his exploits on debut.

"He's been down to train for four weeks at a time but, with all due respect, we never thought we'd put him in," Bellamy said.

"Centre is his preferred position. He was going to be down for five weeks during Origin and I think (after Saturday's game) that'll get extended.

"When Xavier went down we thought we'd put in (former rugby sevens player) Will Warbrick and he hurt his calf so Anderson was the last man standing.

"His family came in last night and his dad was reduced to tears. He did one hell of a job."

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