Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has told his players they will need to be at their best if they are to overcome the Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Bulldogs were the whipping boys last season but 2022 was always going to be different. Following a number of high-profile signings it is no surprise Trent Barrett’s side have improved.
Canterbury have lost two of their three opening games but they were close encounters. Manly edged them by a point last week, while the Broncos won by six in round two.
Barrett’s side have proven to be super competitive and Bellamy is expecting nothing different on Sunday. They will also be up against superstar winger Josh Addo-Carr who left the Storm at the end of 2021.
“Certainly there’s a lot of new players there, they recruited heavily in the off-season and I think you’re seeing results of that to be quite honest,” Bellamy told reporters ahead of the game.
“They’ve only won the one but they’ve been very unlucky last week against Manly, and got beaten by one point.
“Their defence is really what’s improved on what they were doing last year and some of the guys who have come into their side have made a real difference.”
The Storm have been involved in golden-point thrillers in each of the last two weeks. They came out on top against South Sydney in the first one but lost to Parramatta last week.
Bellamy admits there is lots to work on still and wants his side to keep up the intensity for 80 minutes.
“We had opportunities last week to just about ice the game,” he added. “We were in good positions to get in better positions.
“We’ve got things to work on. when we get into a bit of rhythm we were looking OK. But we just can’t seem to sustain that rhythm with the ball.”
Melbourne Storm trio commit
The Storm head in to the game on a high following Friday’s big contract announcement. Jahrome Hughes, Xavier Coates and Harry Grant have all penned contract extensions.
Melbourne sit in fourth place on the NRL ladder heading into Sunday’s clash. And two points are needed to keep them within touching distance of Penrith.
The Panthers sit top of the ladder with four wins from four after beating South Sydney on Friday. Ivan Cleary’s side are looking the team to beat in 2022 and the Storm cannot afford any early slip-ups.