Storm leave Cronk out of Knights match

Melbourne have left game-breaker Cooper Cronk out of their side as they try to seal the NRL minor premiership at Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.

The Test halfback wasn’t included when the Storm named their 19-man squad, with the competition frontrunners deciding he should join prop Tim Glasby on the sidelines following a heavy workload throughout the State of Origin period.

Jahrome Hughes has been named at halfback, partnering Cameron Munster, who returns from ankle ankle injury.

Melbourne head north wary of a Knights ambush.

Despite sitting last Newcastle have won their past three games and fancy their chances of taking the scalp of the competition frontrunners who they usually match up well against.

Bellamy says their opponents have built their recent wins on a blistering start and his side have been focusing on matching that early intensity in front of an expected big crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“They’ve been starting well so one thing we need to do is make sure we’re doing that as well; that’s got to be a real focus for us,” Bellamy said on Friday.

“It looks like they’ve learnt how to win and their fast starts have been a real standout.”

The Storm only need one more win from the remaining three rounds to clinch the minor premiership, which Bellamy took plenty of pride in particularly with the side supplying numerous top line players for State of Origin this season.

Under his watch Melbourne have finished top of the ladder five times including capturing last year’s JJ Giltinan Shield, although they had three of them stripped for salary cap breaches.

“Finishing minor premiers is a huge pat on the back for our players,” Bellamy said.

“I think if we can win the minor premiership it shows that we’ve been a consistent side and I think you need to be consistent to do well at the end of the year.

“You can’t go up and down throughout the season and expect that not to happen in September.”

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