Kidwell defends Storm's 'resting' policy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kidwell defends Storm's 'resting' policy

By Melissa Woods 04/08/2006 04:25:06 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne co-captain David Kidwell says his table-topping side has earned the right to rest players in the lead-up to the NRL finals.

The Kiwi international was last week the beneficiary of coach Craig Bellamy's controversial policy of resting his representative players, sitting out the Storm's 34-24 win over the Dragons.

NSW Origin three-quarter Matt King and Queensland backrower Dallas Johnson are set to miss Melbourne's clash with Wests Tigers at Olympic Park on Saturday night.

Hard-working Maroons hooker Cameron Smith is also likely to be rested during the remaining five rounds of the regular competition.

Bellamy has defended his strategy, saying his side was far from complacent and he isn't resting players for the sake of it.

Kidwell, who travelled to the UK mid-season for a New Zealand Test between NRL games, said he felt much fresher after the week off.

"Myself, Matt King, Dallas Johnson and Cameron Smith have played a considerable amount of football this year and were in a position where we could probably give a couple of players a rest," he said.

"If we were seventh or eighth we definitely wouldn't be having this conversation.

"It's an opportunity for us, were looking at the bigger picture, we want to be fresh for the finals and if that extra week can help us during the finals time then why not."

Michael Crocker, who replaced Kidwell in the starting side last week, is set to step in for Johnson, while try-scoring phenomenon Greg Inglis is a more-than-handy replacement for King.

The Tigers trumped the Storm 30-28 in their last meeting in round four, which kick-started Melbourne's season, with the side now gunning for its ninth consecutive win and 15th at home.

With a series of injuries contributing to their downfall, the defending champions are in 12th position and are in serious danger of missing the play-offs.

They gave themselves a timely boost last weekend, upsetting the Broncos 20-6 in Brisbane.

"It will be a pretty tough game, Wests Tigers played pretty well against Brisbane and everyone forgets they're the premiers and they're a pretty proud football team," he said.

Despite the Storm's commanding position, six points clear on the NRL ladder, Kidwell said there had been no talk about the minor premiership.

"It hasn't been mentioned. It's the old cliché in rugby league but we're just taking it week by week and we're just concentrating on the Tigers and on winning.

"Hopefully when the 26 rounds are finished, we'll still be in the number one position."

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