Bellamy calls for rep weekend off - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy calls for rep weekend off

By Guy Hand 27/04/2011 06:26:05 PM Comments (0)

The NRL have been urged to act now to prevent burning out elite players forced to juggle club and representative commitments.

The May 6-9 period is looming as a torture test for some stars, with the Australia-New Zealand and City-Country matches being held on the Friday.

Four NRL matches are then scheduled from Saturday to Monday, with players expected to back up for their clubs.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said all NRL clubs should have been given that week off and the league should look at doing so in 2012 should the same schedule remain in place.

The Storm play the night after the Test and City-Country matches and the problem will raise its head again at State of Origin time.

"It's time for the league to really have a look at the weekend with the Australia-New Zealand game on and the City-Country game," Bellamy said.

"We're playing the night after in Brisbane ... but I'm sure a lot of other clubs are in the same boat.

"I think we can lighten the load on our elite players, start the competition a week earlier and have that weekend off."

While the Storm have generally been hit hard by rep commitments, they are likely to have their lightest representation in years over that period.

Stars Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Adam Blair will feature in the Test match.

But others - including influential halfback Cooper Cronk - are probably fringe chances at best to make the final squads.

Storm centre Beau Champion is one who may feature in the City-Country contest at Albury.

Bellamy said the players' union - the Rugby League Players' Association - should push hard to ease the squeeze on elite players.

"We're all about the welfare of our players ... if we haven't got our players, we haven't got a game," Bellamy said.

"It's tough on the players. A lot of those players are coming into a period where they are going to be playing a lot of very high intensity footy in the Origin period.

"The league's got to make the decision, if they don't make the decision then it doesn't get made.

"Perhaps the players' association should be a little more strong on it."

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