Melbourne Storm entertainingly boring
How have the Melbourne Storm managed to start the season so well? Please, don't ask them.
The Storm seemed almost as mystified as the rest of us after they headed to Dairy Farmers Stadium preparing for their toughest challenge of the year and came away 42-18 winners over North Queensland, preserving and enhancing an unbeaten record for 2012.
When asked to sum up the reasons why no rival seems to get near them, coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith repeatedly, apologetically used the word 'boring' to preface their answers.
"I don't expect too much," Bellamy said.
"I know it sounds boring again but we just try and train as best we can and then we'll perform the best we can. I didn't think, 'Oh, we need to make sure we've got that play by round six, we need to have that down pat'. I don't think like that. I don't think anybody else at the club thinks like that.
"It's a matter of working really hard, making sure the things we think are important for this week or this season ... that we practise those and hopefully we can get them right as soon as possible.
"You don't think about the scoreline before a game but if someone had said (then) that that would be the scoreline at the end, I would have been hugely surprised. We'd all have been surprised."
Either there is no great secret to the Storm's success or they are all actors worthy of places at NIDA.
According to them they trained hard in the pre-season, as usual, practice their drills during the week, as usual, and work hard on game day, as usual.
Perhaps there is something about the way the game is being played this year that suits them? They're not sure. Perhaps they have the right players maturing at the right time? They're not sure.
Maybe the big three of Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk are better this year?
Nup. "They do the same thing – they're freaks," said two-try back-rower Kevin Proctor. "They always turn up to play. If we do our job, it makes it easier for them."
Like Bellyache said, don't expect any great revelations when investigating the NRL's only undefeated team. Here's Ryan Hinchcliffe: "I just think everyone's doing their job as best they can. Everyone's playing their role, playing their part in attack. Everyone's playing to our structures, our timing's good, everyone's running hard.
"On top of that, Cooper's playing really well, Cameron's playing really well, just everyone's playing really well ... when everyone's doing that, it's an easy game."
Things just come together in sport sometimes. Bellamy, according to Smith, is "doing a lot of homework on the opposition, and the boys are playing out the gameplan really well.
"We're not straying too far from what we practise all week and that's why we're getting wins. If everyone does their job, we've got a pretty good chance of winning the football game."
Ah, Ryan Hinchcliffe already said that, Cameron. Can someone say something interesting please?
"I know it sounds boring but it's true," says Bellamy. "We don't concern ourselves, we don't think about winning or losing. We just think about performance each week.
"At the end of the day, it's not about winning or losing. It's about how we can prepare this week so we can play well on the weekend. If that's good enough to win, that's great. If not, we'll have to look at the week after.
"We seem to be getting a lot of our attack right at the moment. We've got a lot of people in motion off different plays, we've got a few options, their timing's been good and they're running into the right space or the right area. It's going well at the moment but we know opposition sides will be watching that and coming up with things to try and blunt the effectiveness of those plays.
"So we need to keep evolving – and we will."
And no doubt the Storm's evolution over the rest of the season will be as enthralling to watch as it is tedious to hear them talk about.