Storm work harder in tackles: Bellamy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm work harder in tackles: Bellamy

Melissa Woods 22/06/2011 03:29:46 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy has defended his team's controversial tackling tactics, putting them down to his side "working harder" than its rivals.

Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah led a chorus of criticism about the Storm's tackling style after their 12-4 win at Leichhardt Oval last Sunday.

Bullocking forward Sika Manu was singled out after being placed on report for an alleged "crusher" tackle, and then charged for dropping his knees on Tigers backrower Gareth Ellis.

The Storm regularly send three players into the tackle, with the third taking out the legs of the ball-carrier and the top tacklers twisting the player on to his back to slow the ball.

They have employed martial arts master and body-guard to the stars John Donehue as their wrestling coach for the past 10 years, although Donehue now works full-time with AFL club Carlton.

Farah said Melbourne were "all over the play-the-ball and get away with it".

Bellamy doesn't believe it's a coincidence that the tackle talk started again just as his side hit the top of the NRL table - in a repeat of 2007, when the grapple tackle was the hot issue.

"I think we've copped a little bit of criticism from the team we played at the weekend and I think they're still going on about it," Bellamy said on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's meeting with the Warriors in Auckland.

"If our guys are willing to work harder than the opposition in defence then we'll get some rewards out of that and I think that's what's happening.

"We haven't heard anything from the referees or anybody else that our tackling technique is not what it should be."

Bellamy rated his side's second half defensive effort as the best of the season and said it was winning them games.

"While our attack hasn't been what it was early in the season, in the last month our defence has picked up, that's been our real strong point," he said.

He said attack would have to take a back seat until the State of Origin period was over and he had Queensland stars Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Dane Nielsen back at training full time.

"If you haven't got your key position players there it's hard to improve your attack," Bellamy said.

After offloading a bevy of stars following the exposure of their salary cap breaches, few expected that midway through the season the new-look Storm would be leading the charge.

Bellamy said he didn't start the year with a certain expectation of their ladder position mid-season.

"We're not going to be sitting back patting ourselves on the back or being too hard on ourselves if things aren't going exactly as planned," he said.

"I've never put any expectations on where we should be sitting after round 10 or 15 or 20, that doesn't come into my thinking.

"It's what we're doing this week, that's all that matters to me."

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