Storm 'lives tipped upside down': Bellamy

Daniel Gilhooly
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is unsure how his squad will handle their COVID-19 relocation

Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy can empathise with Friday's opponents the Warriors after his own players and staff were separated indefinitely from loved ones this week.

In a match which encapsulates a surreal season, the two teams forced from their home cities by the COVID-19 pandemic will meet on hastily-arranged neutral territory at Kogarah in Sydney.

Throw into the mix the shock sacking of Warriors coach Stephen Kearney and the match has a more unpredictable feel than in recent times.

Bellamy's men have knocked over the Warriors in their last eight straight meetings but he's not sure what impact their own sudden upheaval will have.

Their shift from Melbourne to Sydney was forced upon them by the growing COVID-19 cases in Victoria.

"It's been a very different week. Our footy lives and our private lives got tipped upside down," Bellamy said.

"I'm not quite sure what the effect's going to be... but we've got a pretty tough group of players."

Half Jahrome Hughes and winger Josh Addo-Carr are both back, the latter having missed last week's loss to Penrith because of the impending arrival of his first child.

There are injuries to two other unnamed players at the Storm (4-2), with Bellamy to make a decision on both close to kick-off.

The Warriors (2-4) get their own star winger back in Ken Maumalo but must cope without gun rookie second-rower Eliesa Katoa (knee).

Bellamy said the Warriors may feel they have a point to prove under interim coach Todd Payten but he couldn't help expressing dismay at the sacking of Kearney, his former Storm assistant.

"I don't know the ins and outs of the Warriors but it seemed a very strange decision after what they've been through," he said.

"They've done eight weeks ago what we're doing now.

"With all due respect, they've had a few injuries but still managed a few victories and a couple of really good performances."

Bellamy said he phoned Kearney who was "moving on with his life".

STATS THAT MATTER

* Melbourne have won their last eight games against the Warriors, out-scoring them 216-76 in the process.

* Interim coach Todd Payten will be wary that only three of the last 11 Warriors coaches have won their first game in charge.

* The Storm have bounced back to win the next game following their last 10 losses against all opposition.