Bellamy more at ease in '09 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy more at ease in '09

By Todd Balym 29/09/2009 07:23:48 PM Comments (0)

It was Craig Bellamy like you've never seen him before.

Relaxed, funny and smiling.

Maybe it's the fact he has done grand final week three times before, or that there is not a shred of drama surrounding his side, but the man who'd rival Ricky Stuart as the most intense coach in the NRL was daddy cool on Tuesday.

What a difference 12 months makes.

If looks could kill, then Bellamy would have been on mass murder charges last year for the stares he shot at the media in the lead up to the grand final.

The controversial suspension of skipper Cameron Smith rankled the entire team and comments from coach and CEO cost the club a $50,000 fine.

However, as he spoke to the media for a record 38 minutes in a press conference at the club offices on Tuesday you couldn't help but feel here was a man completely content with his team.

Not only is the side injury and suspension free, they're in the best form they've ever carried into a decider.

"I think the main reason we're in a better head space this time last year we were probably struggling with our form a little bit too," said Bellamy.

"I think we're certainly in better form, we're a lot fresher ... and we've got Smith and Hoffman playing that is a huge benefit as well."

Bellamy says he's never seen Smith happier, the captain skipping into training on Monday before playing a game of ring-around-the-rosey with prop Jeff Lima.

"I've never seen him so happy. He might be a little bit too happy at the moment, I will have to give him a whack over the ears later in the week," joked Bellamy.

"It's been a long 12 months for Cameron Smith to be quite honest ... missing the grand final last year really hurt him and he has been waiting 12 months for this."

Bellamy even found the solution to stopping Eels star Jarryd Hayne, even if it was a momentary faux pas.

Asked who should referee the grand final, Bellamy recommended Tony Archer and Jarryd, not Shayne, Hayne.

When corrected, Bellamy quipped: "We can swap them around if you like, Jarryd can referee and Shayne can go to fullback. We can handle that I think."

And he also found the solution to the hostile reception he expects in Sydney.

Told world champion boxer Roy Jones Jnr arrived in Australia wearing a Storm jersey - a shot at Eels fan and next opponent Danny Green - Bellamy quickly offered the boxing great a job for the week.

"We might bring him in for security reasons, especially if we happen to venture out to Parramatta at some stage," he said.

"If we get into a blue after he will come in very handy."

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