Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy expects response from Penrith in blockbuster preliminary final
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is wary of the “battle hardened” Penrith Panthers ahead of Saturday‘s preliminary final, despite admitting the Storm have the advantage following a week off.
The Storm are in a strong position to advance to their second straight grand final after winning in the first week of the finals.
In comparison, Penrith have had to follow the hard road to the prelim after a shock loss to South Sydney in their first final.
Bellamy, though, knows the Panthers will come out firing, especially after losing last year’s grand final to the Storm.
“They are pretty battle hardened at the moment,” Bellamy said about Penrith following their two finals games against Souths and Parramatta.
“At times, that can also be good preparation as well, but no one really knows until game day.
“It all depends how that works out.
“The mental side of it and having a rest is good and we’ve got the advantage there.”
Bellamy confirmed Canterbury Bulldogs-bound winger Josh Addo-Carr has overcome his hamstring injury and is ready to fire in the preliminary final against Penrith.
Addo-Carr sat out the Storm’s first finals win over Manly due to the injury.
“Josh has trained all week,” he said.
“We were reasonably confident that he would have played last week if that was the situation we were in.
“We didn’t really push him too much earlier in the week, but the last couple of sessions he has trained really well, so we expect him to be ready.”
Meanwhile, Bellamy believes former Melbourne champion fullback Billy Slater will excel in the coaching ranks after being named Queensland’s new Origin coach.
“Billy has got great knowledge of the game and he has got a great way of expressing his thoughts and theories on the game,” he said.
“He is one of the most passionate NRL people that I have ever seen, so I think he will do really, really well.
“He is not going to be a guy that dips his toe in to see how cold it is. He will be either out or he is all in.
“I don’t think Queensland could be in better hands.”
Originally published as Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy expects response from Penrith in blockbuster preliminary final
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