Storm say home ground helps tough NRL draw

Melissa Woods
Coach Craig Bellamy says playing at home will be a plus in an otherwise tough draw for the Storm

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is relishing their reduced travel schedule despite being dealt one of the toughest draws in the NRL season reboot.

The Storm have been drawn for two meetings with 2019 premiers Sydney Roosters, grand finalists Canberra, preliminary finalists Souths, arch-rivals Manly and Newcastle, who have made an unbeaten start to 2020.

They start off on Saturday week against the Raiders at their usual home ground AAMI Park, which Bellamy said made all the difference.

As well, Melbourne don't have to make the trek to Townsville and only once to Brisbane, while no teams have the NZ leg with the Warriors based in NSW.

"It's pretty tough with the teams we're playing twice - the two grand finalists and Manly and Newcastle so that's pretty tough," Bellamy said on Thursday.

"We're fortunate that we're allowed to play games at AAMI park so that will reduce our travel ... so that's one really good part of it for us.

"If we had to jump on a plane for nine weeks in a row to play home games in Sydney ... it makes it certainly easier on us."

The Storm are set to be at full-strength to take on the Raiders with new recruit, centre Paul Momirovski and winger Sandor Earl expected to overcome soft tissue injuries to be available for selection.

Bellamy said such injuries weren't entirely unexpected.

"We obviously wanted to get some training into them that was specific to the game," Bellamy said.

"To do that with only about two-and-a-half weeks of contact - knowing how far to go there with the intent of the actions but also the duration ... was tricky.

"We knew there were going to be some injuries when we put the foot down with our training - and we got that.

"But I don't think we've done too much damage so we expect everyone to be training next week."