Smith backs NRL coach Bellamy as real deal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith backs NRL coach Bellamy as real deal

Melissa Woods 08/08/2011 03:54:38 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith says the club's surge to the NRL minor premiership explodes the myth that Craig Bellamy wasn't the architect of their past success.

When the Storm's salary cap rorting was exposed last year, there was criticism that the club had bought the premierships it won in 2007 and 2009.

Melbourne were stripped of those titles and then lost a host of star players, but they are back in the same position this year - on top of the NRL table.

If they beat the last-placed Titans on Saturday, they will equal their best run of wins, with 11.

Smith said it was proof of Bellamy's enviable coaching credentials.

"He's been a great coach for a long time," the skipper said on Monday ahead of a club golf day.

"Last year, there was a lot of people saying that because that had happened, he didn't really get us to the finals and he was a bit of a myth.

"We knew he was a great coach and he's one of the big reasons why we were so successful.

"He's proven that again this year ... for us, nothing's changed. He's always been a great leader and a guy who's expected a lot out of his players and staff and that's why we've been successful."

The captain said that the unique situation of last season, when the side wasn't able to win any competition points, had made Bellamy an even better coach.

"He's a guy set in his ways and that tested him last year because he couldn't be like that in our situation."

Smith said his coach adapted well and was more open to input from players and other staff.

Meanwhile, Smith believed the Wests Tigers were a team to watch as the finals loomed.

The eighth-placed Tigers knocked the defending premiers St George Illawarra back to fifth with a 16-14 win last round.

"The Tigers are looking really good at the moment and they've got a really favourable draw to finish the year," he said.

"I think they'll finish really well, the way they're playing, and they would have gota lot of confidence out of beating the Dragons on the weekend.

"They just seem like they've found a bit of spark to their football."

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