Hinchcliffe would deserve call-up: Bellamy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hinchcliffe would deserve call-up: Bellamy

Roger Vaughan 10/05/2011 04:34:20 PM Comments (0)

Ryan Hinchcliffe is the overnight rugby league sensation that has been a year in the making.

Hinchcliffe put himself into strong contention for NSW State Of Origin selection with a man-of-the-match performance on Friday night in the City-Country game.

The only surprise for the utility's Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is that Hinchcliffe has taken this long to be noticed.

"He seems to have gotten everyone's attention from Friday night's game - it amazes me he hasn't come up before then," Bellamy said.

"He's just such a tough competitor and he can play a few positions.

"I don't think he's ever let us down in a game ... (there's) a Dallas Johnson-toughness about him.

"He wouldn't be out of place in a blue jumper, but it's just surprising how he's only come up in the last week.

"He's been playing like that for 12 months."

The night after Hinchcliffe's starring performance, the Storm continued their impressive start to the season with a tight away win over Brisbane.

Melbourne were without Beau Champion, who suffered a shoulder injury in the City-Country game, while Matt Duffie was rested.

Duffie will return for Saturday night's home game against bottom side Canberra.

While Bellamy said Champion had shown strong form and would be missed, he added Maurice Blair had been impressive in the centres.

"We've had a couple of good wins this year, we'd certainly rate that up there," Bellamy said of the victory over the Broncos.

Bellamy is confident there will be no drop off this week from the intensity they showed against Brisbane.

"We're not going to concern ourselves with where Canberra are, we know they have a lot of good players in their team," Bellamy said.

"After watching them last night, they're trying really hard and a win ain't going to be too far away.

"But certainly that's not going to come into our mentality this week - our mentality is to prepare the best we can."

Bellamy also continued the praise of Melbourne captain Cameron Smith, who starred in the Broncos win.

He described Smith as one of the best players he had coached.

"I wouldn't say he's gone to another level this season, but he's been ultra-consistent," Bellamy said.

"We all know what a good player he is and the decisions he makes when we have the footy ... but the amount of work he gets through defensively is quite astounding.

"It's hard to put into words how valuable he is to our place."

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