Storm stars rest up before Dragons

Melbourne's Origin stars have been absent from training all week.

But fear not Storm fans, it is all part of the Craig Bellamy plan.

After playing their third game in 10 days the club made the decision to give its Queensland stars Cameron Smith, Will Chambers and Cooper Cronk the week off training.

The hope is that the trio will be fresh and ready for Saturday when the side travels to Napier, New Zealand to host a home game against the Dragons. 

A perfect as last Friday night's 52-10 demolition of Penrith was, the only concern was the sight of Cronk's knee on ice 10 minutes before full-time.

However Bellamy declared his halfback a certain starter for the weekend.

"If it was a close game we probably wouldn't have brought him off but the game was gone," Bellamy said.

"He hadn't played for four or five weeks and then to play three games in 10 days we thought it was safer to bring him off. This week he hasn't done any training but that is what we want with him, Smithy and Will.

"They can have some time off and hopefully that will freshen them up for the rest of the season."

 

It has been a hectic travel schedule for the Storm who after Saturday would have played just one of their past four games in Melbourne. 

The selling of this week's home game to Napier has not helped the travel burden as it will be the second time in three weeks the club will travel across the ditch.

The players will then catch two flights home before travelling again four days later to face the Wests Tigers at Leichardt Oval.

A lighter week on the training track is what the coach hopes will enable his side to negotiate this tricky part of the draw and cement their place in the top eight.

"It is a longer break for us this week," Bellamy said.

"The guys have had two days off and we didn't do too much physical stuff on the third day either which we usually do so I like to think they are fairly fresh and we've had plenty of time to get them going again."

The Storm moved back up to fifth place on the ladder last Friday, ending their four-game losing streak.

Awaiting them this week are the declining Dragons who are in the midst of a six-game winless run of their own, but it a form line fraught with false pretences according to the Storm tactician.

"They are playing a lot better than a team that has lost six in a row to be quite honest with you," Bellamy said.

"They've lost some really close games, it just hasn't been running for them but hopefully it dosn't run for them for one more week."

Who will make the eight? NRL.com's Ladder Predictor