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If you want to know where Storm coach Craig Bellamy gets his drive, determination and desire from, look no further than his 87-year-old mum.

Betty Esme Bellamy lives in the small rural NSW town of Portland – population 2400 – across the Blue Mountains about 160km west of Sydney.

But if you're in Portland on a Storm game day you'll probably hear Mrs Bellamy yelling encouragement for players and offering advice for referees.

She would have had a ball on Saturday night with the 64-10 win over the Eels.

"She really loves her rugby league," Bellamy told Madge on Sunday. "She was brought up in a family of rugby league tragics really."

She married Norm Bellamy and had two kids – daughter Gail, and son, Craig.

Norm unexpectedly died in an accident at the local cement works, when he was 51.

Craig, 20, was on a part-time football contract with the Canberra Raiders at the time. To make ends meet he was working the morning shift as an electrician at the Queanbeyan Leagues Club on that day in late January 40 years ago.

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"At that time my Mum didn't have a phone at home, or a mobile, so a neighbour rang me," Bellamy recalled. "I drove up immediately."

Norm wasn't much of a football follower. His loves were shooting and fishing, his wife and his kids. The marriage and the family home were happy places.

"I can't imagine how hard it was for her. I can say this honestly, I never saw mum or dad have an argument," Bellamy said.

"I know it took my mum a fair while to move on ... and also for myself and my sister.

"At Canberra, we were in our pre-season. I was home for about a week and then Mum and Gail said 'Go back to Canberra and get back into your career. We'll be okay."

"I don't know whether they were really okay. I checked on them as much as I could but it's not the same as seeing them every day. Sometimes I probably regret doing that. They probably needed my help a bit more."

That's why today – when Bellamy makes his Mother's Day phone call – he's thinking of his dad as he's thanking his mum.

"I'll always admire, and be very grateful, for Mum wanting us all to get back to a normal life and work together for that.

"It was a really tough time for everyone. My Mum is a wonderful person but one of her traits is that she's very stubborn.

"I remember she said to me once that she was never interested in another partner, or another relationship. She was only in her mid-40s when Dad died, but she never did want anyone else.

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"She used that stubbornness to get on with life. It took her ages to be willing to give a hearing aid a go.

"I think I'm a bit more like mum than my sister is, and my sister is more like my dad than I am.

"He was a really nice bloke, a very calm bloke, whereas Mum has a bit of fire in her. When she gets her back up against the wall, she doesn't cringe or fall to the ground – she fights back."

So if she was in the AAMI Park coach's box, she'd be gesticulating towards the field too?

"She'd be yelling too, absolutely ... probably louder than me," Bellamy said.

Storm head coach Craig Bellamy
Storm head coach Craig Bellamy ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"With my footy career, and it doesn't matter where I've been, she's never found it hard to break the tie with the previous club to make a connection for my new club.

"When I was with Canberra – and I was there 16 years (as player and lower-grade coach) – mum and dad would drive down a fair bit. After he died, she would still drive down ... made friends with lots of my teammates and always loved her footy.

"It was always great to see her. And she's always been so loyal to me. But as soon as I left Canberra for Brisbane, she was a Broncos supporter. She'd come up there and got along great with all the people up there – made some more good friends.

"But when I got to Melbourne, she was off the Broncos and on with Storm."

Mrs Bellamy is now off the family farm and living in a granny flat at Gail's house.

"My sister is not all that interested in the footy but she reckons she hears Mum loud and clear from downstairs bagging somebody, usually the referees. So she still gets into it in a big way.

"Every time I call her on the phone, one of the very first things she says is 'Make sure you win this week', or 'You get a win for me."

When Storm played the Panthers at Carrington Park in Bathurst in round three, Bellamy told his players they had "to win for my mum". Some said later they're pretty sure they heard her in the crowd.

A few years ago for the NRL's  Women in League round, Storm players and coaching staff had the name of a female close to their hearts printed on the back of their training jersey.

Most nominated their wife, partner, daughter… Bellamy had 'Betty' in big white letters across his shoulders.

"It was just something I wanted to do… with the greatest respect I think Wendy [Bellamy's wife] and Rachel [his daughter] would have expected me to do that, to be quite honest.

"They forgave me pretty quickly anyway."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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