Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has defended his captain Cameron Smith but says it’s up to him to tell his side of the story following paralysed Knight Alex McKinnon’s television interview.
Smith led Queensland to a stunning 52-6 victory on Wednesday night to claim this year’s State of Origin series days after being slammed by McKinnon for his reaction to the tackle during a 2014 NRL game which left him in a wheelchair.
Bellamy on Thursday defended Smith but said it was up to his skipper to talk about the incident and the McKinnon interview.
He didn’t want to discuss whether Smith and the club had done enough to contact McKinnon, who said he hadn’t heard from the Test rake since the injury.
“I think at some stage Cameron will tell his side of it and I will leave it up to him,” Bellamy said.
“One thing I will say is that Cameron Smith is one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever been involved with.
“He’s been an ornament to our game, he’s been a great ambassador for our club, for Queensland, for Australia and rugby league in general so it was a tough time for him.”
Smith will be back on deck for Melbourne when they face the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday.
Bellamy said he hadn’t spoken to any of the Storm’s Queensland trio – Smith, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers – apart from a message they had come through the Origin decider unscathed.
They will travel directly from Brisbane to Auckland.
Cronk was a force in the Maroons’ crushing victory, after missing their loss in the second Origin match in Melbourne with a knee injury that had sidelined him since game one.
“I thought Cooper was really good because his last game was the first Origin so he’s had a big break in between,” Bellamy said.
“A lot of guys who had the operation he had wouldn’t have been playing so he’s done a great job to get himself ready for the game.
“You could tell the confidence Queensland have in him and when he’s not there they lack that.
“He gives them real guidance and a comfortable feel; the same for the Storm.”