Bellamy: Grand final prep less than ideal
Craig Bellamy is midway through his sixth grand final week as Melbourne Storm head coach, although as the years have gone on, Bellamy has fallen further out of love with the build-up to the match itself.
Bellamy would class himself as a traditionalist, and given the fanfare that comes with being one of the grand final combatants, he'd rather leave all that behind to just be able to focus on doing his job.
"Not particularly, at the end of the day I prefer to get on with our preparation and do what we need to do and turn up and play," Bellamy said when quizzed on his enjoyment of grand final week.
"You can understand it too, it’s a big week in terms of promotions. We'll be at the Opera House tomorrow night, the Dally M's tonight so there's a whole heap of things on but having said that I'd prefer not go through all of those things.
"Just let me get on with doing my job for the week. I understand it has to be done but having said all that I'd much rather be doing that than something else this week."
The minor premiers got the better of North Queensland and Canberra during the finals series en route to their second grand final appearance in the past five seasons, and it's a position Bellamy believes the Storm deserve to be in.
The squad was riddled with injuries for most of the season and battled especially in the early stages with cohesion in the squad each week, so the veteran coach is pleased with his side's resolve to never give up.
"To get to the last game of the year is always a great effort, and a lot of people understand how hard it is to get to a grand final and to do that has been really good for us," Bellamy said.
"With all due respect I think our guys have deserved it this year. We've been through a little bit with injuries earlier in the year and then later in the year but these guys have always just stuck to the job that they need to do and they've done it really well.
"There's some guys that have played in different positions that they haven’t played in before out of necessity through injuries, so I think that's really helped the team and I think it's really helped some individuals as well. I'm real proud of them and I'm real pleased for them."
During the Storm's injury crisis they unearthed Fijian superstar Suliasi Vunivalu, while other young players like Cameron Munster and Nelson Asofa-Solomona have made massive contributions to Melbourne's grand final charge.
With more than half of Melbourne's preliminary final team facing gearing up for their first grand final, Bellamy has some pretty simple words for his younger players.
"Listen to the older blokes," Bellamy said.
"I've had a chat to them and the guys that we have got, we've got two of the most experienced guys in the competition. We've got another three or four that have played in a grand final as well, so for a lot of young blokes this could be the biggest occasion in their lives.
"It's really important that they stick to what they've been doing all year, if they're not playing well they wouldn’t be in the team, so what they do throughout the week during the year they need to do this week."