Resilient Storm firing ahead of Broncos clash
To say the Melbourne Storm are battle-tested after Round 2 of the NRL Telstra Premiership is an understatement.
Despite a new-look team, several debutants and suffering injuries to key players, the Storm remain undefeated in claiming gutsy wins in both their games on the road under torrential conditions.
Without representative stars Jesse Bromwich and Tohu Harris, Melbourne travelled to Sydney and Auckland to beat the Canterbury Bulldogs and Warriors for a 2-0 record.
Known for their resilience through adversity, Craig Bellamy acknowledged his side's brave efforts to start the season.
"The most pleasing thing we've done in the last two weeks, is the amount of effort they've put in," Bellamy said. "Some of our execution in attack and defence hasn’t been great but they've been trying their hearts out.
"Not only were they wet grounds but the work rate for our players was very high especially this time of year.
"When you look at it, we've had four debutants through the club and two of them (Ryley Jacks and Joe Stimson) have never played NRL before. One other (Vincent Leuluai) played two NRL games and the other (Josh Addo-Carr) has played 13 games at other clubs."
No obstacle has proven big enough for the Storm to overcome, and they will be thrilled to greet good news this week with the return of Billy Slater and possibly Bromwich in their home opener.
"It seems like we haven’t played at home for a long time," Bellamy said. "All our trials, the Nines and trips – our first two games have been away – with the trip to New Zealand. It's been a pretty hectic schedule for us."
While Bellamy said there's a "genuine buzz around the club" for Slater, whether the Brisbane Broncos target the fullback is an uncertainly.
"What they're going to do, I don’t know," Bellamy said. "We expect him to get through the game and whatever they want to try, we – the medical staff, coaching and Billy – think he'll handle whatever comes."
Ironically, after a fortnight of sunny weather, rain is expected in Thursday's match in what would be the aptly-named Storm's third straight game in wet weather.
"We've had two weeks of great weather in and all of a sudden it's going to open up tomorrow night between eight and ten (o'clock)," Bellamy said. "We'd like to play in the dry to see where we are with our attack.
"Hopefully it holds off tomorrow but if it doesn't, then we've had a bit of practice in the first two rounds."