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Cooper Cronk and teammates celebrate his try in the Preliminary Final against the Cowboys at AAMI Park.

After a loss Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy typically walks into his post-match press conference with a fiery look of frustration.

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If you look close enough you can see the anger boiling beneath the surface, one stupid question from a journalist away from bursting out.

However on Saturday night, half an hour after his side suffered a humbling preliminary final defeat at home, the Craig Bellamy that walked into the AAMI Park press room was one of a different sort.

The disappointment on his face was clear but the visible frustration that had become commonplace was replaced with a simple look of resignation.

"It is really disappointing, there was a grand final at the end of this. As I said to some of our younger players they'd want to watch next week and realise the opportunity that we have lost. We weren't good enough tonight," Bellamy said after Storm's 32-12 loss to the Cowboys.

"We had some good patches but we just weren't consistent tonight. That is the thing that will be a real focus for us to get better at next year. 

"Usually your last game of the year is an indication of how your year has gone and we were inconsistent tonight and inconsistent throughout the year."


After being tipped to miss the finals prior to the season Melbourne exceeded external expectations when they snuck into the top four on the final day of the season.

Defeating the minor premiers in week one of the Telstra Premiership Finals saw them within touching distance of a grand final berth but Saturday night's heavy defeat showed there is some improvement needed in this side to reach the next level.

"Overall I'm sure in a couple of weeks time I probably will look back and be pretty proud of what this group has done," Bellamy said. 

"We were written off at the start of the year, when Billy (Slater) got hurt we were written off again. I am pretty proud of the players to be quite honest to get to where we've got to. 

"This is the youngest squad we've ever had while I've been here and the progress in guys like Cameron Munster… in a couple of week we will probably look back and think we've done a pretty good job this year."

Centre Kurt Mann, winger Matt Duffie and back-rower Ryan Hinchcliffe will all depart the club over the summer.

Fullback prodigy Munster will likely switch to Mann's centre slot when Slater returns while Dale Finucane will retain his lock position that saw favourite son Hinchcliffe come off the bench for much of the season.

An athletic winger to replace Duffie would not go astray as the Storm get set to launch their recruiting drive over summer.

Saturday night may not have gone according to plan but if Bellamy's demeanor after the game was anything to go by, this Storm team has plenty of life in it yet. 

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