Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy expects former charge Greg Inglis will spark a sputtering South Sydney in Saturday night’s NRL clash at AAMI Park.
The Rabbitohs are reeling from an eighth straight loss, having been belted 54-4 by Canberra in round 21.
Inglis, who hasn’t played for Souths since July 3, will return at five-eighth.
The versatile superstar copped a three-game ban for a shoulder charge in State of Origin III that broke Josh Dugan’s jaw.
“Losing GI for a month obviously wasn’t great for them,” Bellamy said on Friday.
“He’s going to be a handful.
“It doesn’t matter what position he plays. If he gets plenty of the ball and starts running it, then he’s dangerous.”
Inglis shot to fame as a game-breaking back under Bellamy, playing 117 games with the Storm before shifting north.
“Playing down here against his old team, I imagine he’ll be very determined to play well,” Bellamy said.
“You always know what he’s capable of and I know he’ll be determined to show that this week.”
Souths coach Michael Maguire admitted the recent slump had tested everyone at his club.
“We’ve got the drive of where we want to go and we’ve got to make sure we persist with that,” Maguire said.
“They’re doing all the little things right around training .. what we’re trying to do this week is get out there and play for each other.”
The Rabbitohs will miss the finals for the first time under Maguire, leaving Bellamy and many others puzzled.
“It’s been a tough time for them … I’m not quite sure,” Bellamy said when asked about Souths’ decline.
“They won a premiership under two years ago and they’ve got a lot of players from that premiership-winning team still playing.
“With the quality in that side, they’ll be very keen to hit back from last week.”
In sharp contrast, the Storm are second on the ladder and cruising towards the finals.
“They’ve got a lot of quality across the park so it’ll be a great challenge,” Maguire said.
“They are defending very well and scrambling well and that’s why they sit where they do on the ladder.”
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Melbourne concede a league-best average of 11.6 points per game
* The Storm miss a league-best average of 18.6 tackles a game
* Melbourne lead the league for linebreaks with 5.8 per game