Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is confident his State of Origin stars are primed for a late-season assault despite the Storm’s challenging recent travel schedule.
Bellamy admitted it had been tricky to negotiate two trips to New Zealand in the fortnight after the Origin series wrapped up but believes Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers have emerged ready for the business end of the NRL campaign.
“To me they look pretty fresh at the moment,” Bellamy said on Thursday.
“We’ve given them plenty of time off through Origin and also a full week off after the last game as well.
“They played in New Zealand but they had some time off there … the way that they’re playing at the moment they look pretty fresh.
“So hopefully we got that little bit right but during the Origin period it was the worst period we had results-wise.”
Bellamy said the Storm would need to head back to the drawing board after the club’s best-laid plans to attack the Origin period had failed to deliver results.
But fifth-placed Melbourne will be hoping to consolidate on recent gains when they take on Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night, with the Storm looking for their third win on the trot.
Bellamy is delighted to have Jesse Bromwich, who he labelled “probably our best player this year”, available to take on the bottom-of-the-ladder Tigers after he was cleared of biting St George Illawarra’s Josh Dugan.
Bromwich was referred directly to the judiciary over the incident that occurred in the Storm’s win over the Dragons in Napier on Saturday.
Bellamy was pleased the prop’s charge was quickly dismissed on Wednesday night.
“I think the judiciary took about two minutes to decide so basically that says it all,” he said.
“He plays as most good front-rowers play the game and to have that levelled at him … I’ve never ever seen that in Jesse.
“I think they got it dead set right in taking two minutes to decide.”