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Bellamy not underestimating Manly

Despite Manly conceding more than 50 points for the first time in more than a decade, Storm coach Craig Bellamy isn't complacent about the Sea Eagles in their Round 21 clash at AAMI Park on Sunday.

The Sea Eagles' 52-22 loss to St George Illawarra last week was their worst result since Round 24, 2005, when they fell 68-6 to Cronulla. Manly still sit sixth on the premiership ladder and are the second highest points scorers in the competition. It’s no wonder Bellamy remains wary.

"They (Manly) had one of those weeks," Bellamy said. 

"They had players out, some key players. Blake Green was a huge loss for them last week. Brenton Lawrence is playing great, Api Koroisau and (Matthew) Wright on the wing, he's their goal kicker. 

"We're not taking much notice of what happened to them last week."

Green played 50 games for the men in purple between 2015 and 2016 and obviously made an impression on the Storm mentor.

"There's a couple of things we'll be trying to do with Greeny, looking at a couple of his strengths, keeping him in check. 

"We know what a good player he was here. I think he was underrated, to be quite honest. Not by the Storm, but by other people in the game.

"What he's done with Manly this year – everyone knows what a good player he is. We didn't want to lose him at the time – these things happen – he's a really good player. He's starting to get the accolades he deserves."

‌Bellamy's opposition coach for the weekend's clash, Trent Barrett, is only in his second year as an NRL head coach, but the Storm mentor is impressed by what he's already achieved with Manly.

"I'm not there so I don't know how he coaches or what he does, but the team has been really good this year. I don't think too many of the critics or so-called experts would have had Manly where they've been. 

"They are a very good team with the footy, very dangerous in attack. We'll have to be at our best defensively to get the result the want."

Meanwhile, Storm captain Cameron Smith was improving each day and is on track to play his 350th game on Sunday. The coach remains hopeful.

"He's going pretty much as expected earlier in the week. He's done most of our training without doing all of it, so we'll see tomorrow just how he's travelling. It's obviously a big occasion for a couple of reasons. We don't want to take any chances with him at all. 

"It's up to the medical staff – I'd like to think what he's got through throughout the week, what he's got through this week, there's good chance he's playing."

Champion fullback Billy Slater is "feeling okay" and went through the head injury assessments this week but is unavailable for the Sea Eagles clash.


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