Bellamy: Manly are team to beat

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has named Manly as one of the contenders for the NRL title ahead of their match on Saturday.

Despite the Sea Eagles’ inconsistent form of late, which has seen them fall to three defeats in their last five matches, Bellamy maintains they have the ability to win on the big stage.

“Without a doubt I think their roster there is very, very strong and the way they play the game, they play a very physical game through the forwards and they’ve got a couple of outstanding young halves,” Bellamy said.

“And in their backs, there’s some game-breakers there as well.

“I think they’re certainly one of the sides to beat to be quite honest but they probably haven’t been in the best form the last month.

“I’m sure Des (Hasler) has timed their run and there’s five weeks to go so they’ve still got some time to get that momentum and if they do get that momentum they’re going to be really hard to beat for this competition.”

The Storm have already been confirmed as wooden-spooners as punishment by the NRL for lengthy and persistant salary cap breaches.

Ryan Hoffman, Brett Finch and Jeff Lima will all leave the club at the end of the current season while speculation remains over the future of stars Greg Inglis and Cooper Cronk.

But Bellamy says the players concerned are determined to finish their time with the Storm on a “great note”.

He added: “We want to send those guys out on a great note, they’re very keen to play with their team-mates and very keen to play for our club so there’s not a whole heap of games to go now so our main priority is to look after them.”

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