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Storm celebrate a try.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has been involved in plenty of gusty victories during the State of Origin period, but the latest one over the Warriors in Auckland ranks among the best.

Already up against it with four players backing up from Wednesday night's interstate clash at Suncorp Stadium, Melbourne also had to play more than 50 minutes of the 32-10 victory without their halfback, following Brodie Croft's game-ending head knock in the first half.

The Storm had to come back from a 10-2 deficit late in the first half and also played 10 minutes with 12 men, after Christian Welch was sent to the sin bin (56th minute) for slowing the play-the-ball on the back of a slew of penalties against the Storm.

Bellamy didn't hesitate to label the win one of the best he has experienced as a coach through the Origin period.

"We've had some good wins during Origin without a doubt, but I reckon this one is up near [the best]," Bellamy said.

"To lose Croft early, I thought [Jahrome] Hughes did a tremendous job, [Ryan] Papenhuyzen was outstanding again, so we covered for Brodie really well.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Storm

"I was really proud of our Origin players. All those guys wanted to back up, there was no pressure put on them to play, but they all wanted to play and I thought they all did a great job for us.

"It's hard enough for the Origin guys to recover physically and emotionally at any time… but to come over here [to New Zealand] with the long travel, and then prepare for a game three days after Origin, I'm really proud of our four players there."

Melbourne didn't make a single error in the first half, completing 18 of 18 sets, but were still trailing by two points at the break. They blew the Warriors away early in the second spell though.

NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr contributed more than 100 running metres for the Storm, while five-eighth Cameron Munster played a leading role after being among Queensland's standout players in Origin I.

Hughes said the effort from the Origin stars was special to see.

"Watching that game was crazy. I was watching it and I was getting tired, so I can't imagine what they were going through," Hughes said.

"To see the boys travel to New Zealand on the Thursday after a game and play a couple of days later is just massive.

Smith provides for Jesse Bromwich

"Big ups to those boys for doing that."

Meanwhile Bellamy expressed confusion as to how the incident with Croft was handled on the field, after the playmaker appeared to remain in the game for several minutes following the knock he took in a tackle.

"He's a little bit doughy in the dressing room at the moment, so it was certainly the right decision to take him off and certainly the right decision for him not to come back on," Bellamy said.

Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr.
Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr. ©Shane Wenzlick/NRL Photos

"Sometimes guys go to HIA and they might not come back on, but they still seem pretty clear. He's probably not as clear as some of those guys at the moment.

"It was strange, I can remember in the game, I think [Ken] Maumalo took the ball up and Crofty got his head in a bad position, and it looked like that's where he got the concussion.

"I don't know exactly how long before he got taken off the field, it seemed like it was about 10 minutes, so I was quite confident then in thinking he's probably not too bad.

"I just thought it was a bit strange it took us that long to get him off."

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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