Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has thrown his support behind former club superstar Greg Inglis after the news he checked himself into a mental health rehabilitation facility.
Inglis broke into the NRL with the Storm after making his highly anticipated debut in 2005 as an 18-year-old. Inglis was vital in Melbourne's four straight grand final appearances from 2006-2009, and he remains much loved in Melbourne as Bellamy extended the club's well wishes during a difficult period.
"He's a pretty special guy, to hear that is quite sad but we know he's in good hands," Bellamy said of Inglis.
"Knowing the kind of guy he is, he'll recover from this.
"I want to tell him everyone at the Storm is thinking of him and we've always, and still love him now. I know he'll get through this. He's a tough kid.
"When he's ready I'll have a chat to him. He's [been] a special guy in a lot of people's lives here at the Storm over a long period of time."
Bellamy spoke to Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire and texted Inglis but doesn't expect a reply soon. Inglis, who was ruled out for the season following a knee injury in Round 1, "will be undergoing a series of programs and treatments to assist with his mental health", according to a Rabbitohs club statement.
Bellamy addressed the stress and anguish behind tormenting injuries in a professional sporting career.
"It's hard on guys in different ways," the Storm coach said.
"For GI, it's a very serious injury at this time in his life and his career when you're missing the whole season. What do you do?"
Melbourne take on South Sydney at nib Stadium in Perth this Sunday, and Bellamy is expecting a strong bounce-back performance to return to the top of the table after his side's disappointing 38-36 loss to the Gold Coast Titans in Round 10.
Having played in last weekend's double-header in Brisbane, the Storm turnaround to travel to Perth to take on South Sydney, who are coming off a 28-8 victory over Wests Tigers.
After threatening to make several changes to last week's defeated side, Melbourne have named Nelson Asofa-Solomona in a potential return from a three-week hand injury while 20-year-old Brandon Smith could make his first-grade debut.
Asofa-Solomona will try to prove his fitness before Sunday in undergoing several physical contact sessions.
Named at hooker in the 2016 NYC Team of the Year, Smith is currently in exceptional form for the Storm's feeder club, Sunshine Coast Falcons, in the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland.
Bellamy rates the youngster as being in the "Ryan Hinchcliffe, Nathan Friend mould" who can play hooker and other forward positions.
"He's the kind of player we like," Bellamy said of Smith.
"He's leading the best and fairest up there in the Queensland Cup. He hadn't played with men before this year, [last year] he played in the Under 20s at the (North Queensland) Cowboys. He's come on really well.
"He's been knocking on the door for the past few weeks and eventually it's going to open."