Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has defended himself against a “personal” attack from NRL pundit Paul Kent, saying he doesn’t “coach people to go out and maim other players”.
Bellamy had avoided commenting on a personal attack from Fox Sports pundit Kent, with the Storm taking the lead in defending their coach. But when asked about it on Thursday, the veteran coach admitted the attack hurt.
Craig Bellamy said the “personal” attack hurt.Credit:Getty Images
“It got personal, it hurt to be quite honest, and it hurt because it was untrue,” Bellamy said.
“I don’t coach people to go out and maim other players, that is certainly not the case.”
Kent mentioned a number of wrestling tackles that both the Storm and other sides have used, some of which have been banned by the NRL, but he cited no evidence when he said the tackles were “pioneered in Melbourne”.
“They were all tackles designed to maim and injure players and all pioneered in Melbourne,” Kent said during an episode of NRL 360.
“The only constant in Melbourne since 2005 when all those tackles have been brought in and later banned in the game is the head coach Craig Bellamy.”
The Storm host Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park on Good Friday night and Bellamy’s side has plenty to work on after a 1-2 (win-loss) start to the season.
Bellamy said his side had to finish its work and stand up in the big moments or it faced more disappointment.
“We lacked a bit of polish and we lacked a bit of urgency in the critical moments,” Bellamy said.
“We had a couple of chances to score tries in the last two weeks and we haven’t nailed them.”
The Brisbane lockdown has further frustrated the team’s preparation, with premiership centre Brenko Lee and several teammates intending to play in the Queensland Cup last round before being sent back to Melbourne where they had to train in isolation until they cleared the NRL’s testing protocols.
Bellamy said Lee would have likely been in line for selection this round if he could have played a half a game in Queensland. Instead he and his fellow travellers were only able to rejoin training on Thursday, so couldn’t be considered.
The Storm’s training was delayed on Thursday due to the addition of more COVID-19 protocols as the NRL upped precautions in the wake of the Brisbane lockdown.
Bellamy hasn’t blasted his players for their two losses, instead taking more responsibility for preparing the side better, especially now club legend Cameron Smith is not around to aid in that work.
“We all need to teach things differently or practise some things more than others,” Bellamy said.
“To lose a player like Cameron, there are things he does that you didn’t realise he was doing them. Now we need different people to step up and do them, I’m one of those people.
“But it’s not as if we are at panic stations, we have played Souths, Penrith and Parramatta who a lot of people think will be in the top four.
“We have one win and we lost in the last 10 minutes in the other two.”
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