Minor premiership won’t sidetrack Storm

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is confident the prospect of sealing the NRL minor premiership won’t be a distraction in Friday night’s clash with Brisbane.

The Storm will be guaranteed top spot on the ladder if they defeat the Broncos at AAMI Park.

“It hasn’t been spoken about at all – that’s just our mentality,” Bellamy said on Thursday.

“I don’t know whether the players have been talking about it among themselves or not but certainly it hasn’t been a discussion in any of our meetings.

“We obviously know the position that we’re in … if we perform well that ladder looks after itself and we’re probably in a reasonable spot.

“But it’s all about our preparation and performance.”

Bellamy has few concerns heading into the clash, with veterans Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk both enjoying the benefits of a light week on the track.

Smith and Cronk featured in Storm’s 38-18 win over Manly in round 24 but were both rested from training last week, with Bellamy keen to have them cherry ripe for finals.

“There was only one session they missed but it was a good time to try and freshen them up,” Bellamy said.

“The boys had a five-day turnaround between away games, so it’s always pretty tough.

“A couple of stages there it looked like we were going to give them a rest.

“But they’re very keen to play. I don’t want to interrupt their momentum, because they’re playing so well.”

Bellamy downplayed prop Jordan McLean’s chances of returning from an ankle injury against Brisbane.

“We’d like him to but I think it’s going to be a week early,” Bellamy said.

“We would have liked him to have a few more games under his belt (before finals) but he’s been training hard so hopefully he’ll get back into stride pretty quickly.”

Bellamy called on fans to give the Broncos a boisterous welcome on Friday night.

“Hopefully it’ll be a noisy crowd … we cop that when we go away so hopefully we can return serve tomorrow,” he said.

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