Cameron Smith in action against the Cowboys at AAMI Park.

Bellamy critical of 'unfair' scheduling

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has not minced his words, believing his side has been dealt few favours with the draw it has been given to end the season. 

 

Speaking after Saturday night's win over the Cowboys in which his side moved into fifth spot on the NRL ladder, the Storm tactician was less than impressed that his side must back up off a five day turnaround for a the second week in a row before Thursday's crucial trip to Brisbane.

Melbourne must beat the Broncos to secure a home elimination final. Should they fail to do so they must then rely on either the Bulldogs or Rabbitohs to lose.

They still remain an outside chance to finish inside the top four but would need the Sea Eagles to upset the Sharks next Sunday.

Question marks will surround the conditioning of the Storm side ahead of their trip to Suncorp Stadium given it will be their third game in just 10 days.

It is a demanding late-season schedule that has left the Melbourne tactician far from impressed. 

"Of course it is unfair, it's a joke actually," Bellamy said.

"We keep going on about player welfare and we get two five-day turnarounds to finish the season off. What about player welfare there?"

"To make these guys back up, back up and back up off five-day turnarounds it's not fair. It makes the competition uneven but that is the way it has been for a few years.

"We've just got to suck it up and get on with it."

 

 

Getting on with it should be something Melbourne have grown used to in 2015.

This will now be their fifth five-day turnaround of the season. However it may not be as bad as first though given they currently hold a 3-1 record when forced to come off the short week.

Their opponents next week in the Broncos have had four five-day turnarounds, winning all of them by an average margin of 25 points.

If Melbourne are to pull off a win next Thursday they must reproduce a performance similar to their one against the Cowboys rather than the one that preceded it.

The Storm were left red-faced last Monday when the Knights severely damaged their top four hopes.

However the men in purple dusted themselves off in time to defeat the Cowboys 14-6, thanks largely to an inspired defensive performance.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who was best on field on Saturday night, noted that the week had been a roller coaster of emotions for the playing group.

"The first training session back was pretty tough. We copped a fair barrage from the coaches, the boys were quite down to be honest on Wednesday," Smith said.

"But by the captain's run yesterday the feeling was pretty good around the place and I think everyone knew what we needed to do tonight and how we needed to respond."

Smith was noticeably vocal towards teammates throughout the 80 minutes.

He admitted that it had been a focus of his going into the game given the disappointment that had transpired earlier in the week.

"I think any good leader or good group of leaders, they try and lead by example when things haven't gone so well in the previous game," Smith said.

"It was just a strong performance across the board but for the remaining games that we have it needs to be because if we don't have a strong 17-man performance that won't be good enough for the opposition that is left in the competition."