Bellamy: Storm focusing on fixing the basics
Craig Bellamy's brand of honesty could be the difference between back-to-back losses as the Melbourne Storm eye up the North Queensland Cowboys on Thursday night at AAMI Park.
Melbourne put on their worst display in many moons as they spluttered to a 10-8 loss to the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
The long-serving coach has delivered a few sprays in his time, but explained how he'll lean on his experienced players to help get the team back on track with a limited preparation and a five-day turnaround.
"I just think I'm probably honest," Bellamy said.
"I tell them what I think. Sometimes the leaders or a couple of other players will say, 'I don't think you're right there,' and that's good. We want that sort of conversation to work things out.
"If I'm thinking something, I'll let them know, and if they think different, they'll let me know too.
"That's a good thing about our club."
The team hasn't completed the basics of rugby league well and Bellamy said it's also spilled over the training paddock.
The Storm coughed up a whopping 16 errors – their most in a game since 2013 – against the Tigers and Bellamy said the team had struggled with the basics during the week as well.
"We haven't been doing them so well at training either. It's a bit more consistency, that's what we're looking for, and doing the basics a lot better than we have been doing," he said.
"I think the boys were disappointed especially the occasion it was, [with] a couple of milestones there (Billy Slater 300's and Kenny Bromwich's 100th game)."
One of the positives to come out of the Storm's early season is prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona's impressive displays in the front row.
The 21-year-old has previously spoken about his enjoyment coming off the bench but Bellamy said his young charge was relishing the new role.
"We're talking about the team's consistency being not so great, well, Nelson's about 180 degrees from that at the moment," he said.
"He is consistent. And this is the most consistent he has been. He's done a lot of changes to his routine, his preparation, a bit of his life off the field, and he's seeing the results of that on the field.
"If someone said that to me 12 months ago, I'm thinking you've got rocks in your head.
"He just needed to tidy up a couple of things and is playing great footy at the moment. The longer he is out there, the better we seem to be going."
The Cowboys have named Michael Morgan to return from an abdominal strain and halfback Johnathan Thurston will play his final regular-season NRL game in Melbourne.
Bellamy acknowledged the impact of North Queensland having their two first-choice halves back.
"A player like him (Thurston) is one of the game's greats and especially over the last 10/12/15 years, he's one hell of a competitor and player, and makes all the difference to any side he plays in," he said.
"(Morgan) is a quality player and where-ever he is on the field there is going to be danger there when he gets the footy."