A Melbourne side yet to taste defeat inside the competition’s first three rounds won’t be taking the Sharks lightly, with Storm Coach Craig Bellamy knowing the challenge his 17 men will front when they run out on to Southern Cross Group Stadium tonight.
Bellamy – although well aware of his side’s recent run of success over the Sharks – says his men will be expecting a hard-fought affair from the first, through to the final whistle. He knows, that while games aren’t played on paper, the Sharks team named on Tuesday presents a tough task for his side.
“I think they are up there, they bought really well this year bringing in two good halves in (James) Maloney and (Chad) Townsend,” Bellamy said.
“And (Ben) Barba seems to have found a bit more of his zip this year and they have a good, young, player in Jack Bird.
“Their strength has always been their forwards and I think that is still the case but they have built up their outside backs this year. They’ve been a good team for a couple of years now but the way they’ve strengthened their team for this year I think they are going to be right up there.”
Pleased with his side’s efforts to date with wins over the Dragons, Titans and Warriors respectively, Bellamy praised the Storm’s resilience and mental toughness, in periods of matches that could have swayed the result.
Wary of the parochial home crowd that awaits, Bellamy said he’s hoping – not expecting – much of the same grit and determination from his men.
“The tough parts of the games, that’s when we’re playing tough and hanging in there,” he said.
“You like that (mental toughness) in your teams … we don’t ‘expect’ that, it’s not there all the time to be quite honest.
“What I like about our start to the season, is that we’ve been that in the three games.”
In Melbourne team news, Kenny Bromwich retains his place in the starting side, seeing Tohu Harris’ stay in the centres prolonged for at least another week.
Sharks v Storm
Monday, March 28, 7pm
Southern Cross Group Stadium
1. Cameron Munster
2. Young Tonumaipea
3. William Chambers
4. Tohu Harris
5. Marika Koroibete
6. Blake Green
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith ©
10. Jordan McLean
11. Kevin Proctor
12. Kenny Bromwich
13. Dale Finucane
14. Christian Welch
15. Tim Glasby
16. Felise Kaufusi
17. Ben Hampton