Bellamy believes Blair can handle Inglis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy believes Blair can handle Inglis

Melissa Woods 01/06/2011 03:21:51 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy believes new centre Maurice Blair can handle former Storm favourite Greg Inglis who is playing his first match against his old club.

Lining up for South Sydney after leaving Melbourne at the start of the season due to the salary cap scandal, Inglis is primed for a big game at ANZ Stadium on Sunday as he looks ahead to State of Origin II in Sydney on June 15.

The 24-year-old is returning from a hip injury which ruled him out of the opening interstate match, and is set to replace injured Willie Tonga in the Queensland side.

Blair, who joined Melbourne after spending last year in the Penrith reserves, has only started two matches but looked in good touch in their last round win over the Sharks.

Bellamy had no qualms about him lining up against Inglis.

He said he wouldn't consider switching his more experienced Queensland representative Dane Nielsen to mark Inglis.

"I think Bobby (Maurice) Blair did a really good job for us last weekend and his run was really strong," Bellamy said of Blair, who has played 50 NRL games.

"While we're going to be a little bit concerned about Greg, we'd like to think that they're going to be a little bit concerned about Bobby as well."

He said Blair was still adjusting to the Storm's defensive style but was happy with his man-on-man contact.

Bellamy knows firsthand the danger the giant centre poses in big games, having coached NSW to three series losses against Inglis' Queensland as well as mentoring the star during his six-year first grade career at the Storm.

And he's wary the first match against his old club could be one of those games.

"I think it would be for him, without a doubt," Bellamy said.

"He'll probably be a little bit short of a gallop but he's one of the elite players in our game and he'll be looking to get some form on the board and some match conditioning for Origin.

"I imagine he will be a pretty dangerous animal."

Playing five of their next six games away from home, Bellamy believed it was a crucial time for his side.

"The one home game we have got is without our Origin players so it's a real tough period," he said.

However sitting second on the NRL ladder despite shedding players the calibre of Inglis he couldn't complain.

"If someone had said at the start of the season ... you can take that or take your luck we would have grabbed it," he said.

"But we don't sit back and think we're doing well, we just think about next week, that's what we've always done and that will never change."

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