Bellamy confident Storm can clear Blair - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy confident Storm can clear Blair

08/09/2009 02:07:58 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne are confident Adam Blair will be cleared by the NRL judiciary to take on Manly on Friday night but if he's not, don't expect any criticism from coach Craig Bellamy.

After skipper Cameron Smith was rubbed out of last year's grand final with a two-match ban for a grapple tackle, Bellamy and Storm chief executive Brian Waldron blasted the judiciary which resulted in defamation action.

They eventually apologised but the matter, as well as the loss of Smith, destabilised their preparation and Manly thrashed Melbourne in the grand final 40-0.

Bellamy said he believed Blair would be cleared by the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night to play in the opening qualifying final against the Sea Eagles at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

If he isn't, expect a "no comment" from the coach.

"I'm not going to go bagging anybody if that's what you're saying," Bellamy said on Tuesday.

"Cam Smith was 12 months ago and it's a little bit of a different situation so we'll just see how it goes."

Blair was charged by the NRL match review committee with grade one "dangerous contact - unnecessary head/neck pressure" - for a "crusher" tackle on Warriors captain Micheal Luck.

"At the moment we think we've got a really good case," Bellamy said.

"We expect him to be there Friday night."

Already battling a chronic shortage of forwards through injury, the Storm can ill afford to lose a player of the calibre of the New Zealand international.

"He has obviously been an important player for us all year," Bellamy said.

"He really came of age last year and is obviously one of our key players so he certainly will be missed but in the past when other people have missed out others have stepped in and done the job."

Fellow Test player Jeff Lima needs the green light this week from his surgeon on his broken thumb to play.

Bellamy said he wouldn't be recalled unless he had a medical clearance, even if that meant promoting under-20 forward Jesse Bromwich, who was the 18th man for the Warriors match.

"Hopefully he'll (Lima) get the green light but we're taking it that he's not going to be playing," Bellamy said.

"We've been in this situation before and Adam will train with us and we're really confident we've got a good case.

"We'll have someone train half a session in his place and see what happens."

Despite squaring off in the past two NRL grand finals and in two rounds this season with results split, Bellamy said Friday's match was a "new competition".

"The two teams have played in the last two grand finals so there's obviously a little bit of rivalry there," he said.

"We played them at Brookvale in round eight and that was a grand final replay and then two weeks ago and that was a grand final replay, there's only so many grand final replays you can have.

"This is another game on its own.

"I don't think too much about what happened last year or the year before, they're done and dusted ... the experience might be able to help us in the right way but this is a whole new game this week."

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