Craig Bellamy says the Melbourne Storm 'got what we deserved' after copping a hiding from the Canterbury Bulldogs on Saturday evening. The Storm looked all at sea against a Bulldogs outfit determined to bounce back from a horror loss in round one.
The veteran NRL coach was fired up after his side trailed 16-0 at half-time, erupting at his side in the sheds after showing very little in their first 40 minutes at home for the season. Things would only get worse from there, with the Bulldogs extending their advantage by another 10 points before the Storm managed to get on the board themselves.
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Two consolation tries late in the piece flattered the Storm, but the 26-12 defeat left Bellamy absolutely apoplectic after the game. It was a major reality check for Melbourne, already looking to redefine themselves somewhat following the off-season departures of Felise Kaufusi, as well as brother Kenny and Jesse Bromwich.
A mounting injury list just two weeks into the season also didn't help, with the Storm without key player Cameron Munster - however Bellamy wasn't taking any excuses. He said it was the side's 'lack of effort' across the board which left him most frustrated.
“It was really poor, it’s what we pride ourselves on here," he said. "Start of the game they were a lot more enthusiastic than us. They were tackling harder, they were doing everything better than us. We were a mile off with some of our effort areas. I didn’t see that coming.
“We got what we deserved. It could have been 40 when it was 26 so we’ve got a whole heap of work to do. We’ve got to show a bit of pride in our footy, show a bit of pride in what we’re supposed to be about as a footy team and also a bit of pride at home here.
“When someone misses out, someone else gets a chance so we just want those guys coming in to take the chance, not sit back hoping the other guys will do their job tonight. But it was all over the field tonight, it wasn’t just our young blokes, or our middle aged blokes or our most experienced blokes, it was all of them.”
Craig Bellamy bake not enough to stir Storm into victory
The sight of Bellamy ripping into his players at half-time might have stirred some memories in former Storm star turned commentator Cooper Cronk, who said Bellamy 'wouldn't miss' any of the players sitting in the room at the time. Cronk noted the Storm had missed an uncharacteristically high number of tackles in the first half, a symptom of their lack of commitment.
“That is why Craig Bellamy is blowing up deluxe because for the first time in a long time they haven’t given too much this half, and 31 missed tackles in 40 minutes of football,” Cronk said. “I have been there and heard it and there will be a reaction from the Melbourne Storm players because when this men tells you that you are not pulling up your socks enough he will let you know and he will not miss.
“The fact that they can turn up for their first home game of the year and put in that first 40 minutes. Craig Bellamy has gone nuclear and there will be a response in the second half.”
However the prediction reaction from Storm players never quite materialised, despite them managing to clean up the defence in the last third of the match. It was too little, too late by then and a first win for the Bulldogs under Cameron Ciraldo was in the books.
Making matters worse for the Storm was an injury to prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona, with Bellamy saying early indiations were that he had suffered an MCL injury. The extent isn't clear yet, but any absence from the hulking star was the last thing Melbourne needed just two weeks into their campaign.
"I think it's a medial so that will probably be a couple of weeks, I imagine," Bellamy said post-match. In round one Melbourne had a third of their 30-man squad out injured, with star backs Munster and Xavier Coates also sidelined from the opening win over Parramatta.
They still have the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Justin Olam, George Jennings, Marion Seve, Tui Kamikamika and Tariq Sims missing. Bellamy wasn't sure if any would be back to take on the Titans on the Gold Coast next Saturday afternoon.
"I don't know for sure - I just worried about what we had this week so we'll see," Bellamy said. "At the end of the day that's not going to make any difference unless we want to show a bit of pride in our footy and in what we're about as a footy team and a bit of pride at home here."
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