Bellamy: ‘Squeaky-clean Sharks? Give me a break’
MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy says the rest of the competition would be laughing at Cronulla Sharks' attempt to be holier-than-thou by accusing the reigning premier of dirty tactics.
In what has become a preliminary final tradition over the past decade, the Storm's tackling and work at the coalface has been questioned by the nemesis Sharks.
And opposing coach Shane Flanagan, who boasts a strong record over the Storm having won four of the past five meetings between the sides, fanned the flames this week by putting a target on Cameron Smith's back.
"Saying they're going to go after Cameron Smith, well what else is new?" Bellamy said.
"Everyone goes after Cameron Smith … Cameron's a bit like Paul Gallen, he hasn't played nearly 400 NRL games without getting through and getting targeted in games.
"If they want to target Cameron I'm sure he'll handle that OK and that will give us a couple of opportunities in other situations so if they want to go out and concentrate on Cameron all night then … but I don't think the Sharks are like that, they're telling us we're the grubs and they're holier-than-thou, the squeaky-clean Sharks, please give me a break."
If nothing else, the targeted barrage of Cronulla mind games has given the Storm something to chat about between sessions in the bowels of AAMI Park.
"It doesn't really needle us but I think most other clubs in the competition would be sitting back laughing at that, saying that we're the grubs and we do this and we do that," Bellamy said.
"Well, as I said, if they're trying to make it that they're holier-than-thou squeaky-clean Sharks, then we all know better than that.
"As they've kept telling us all week, they're a very tough team, a very experienced team … and they are, without a doubt, they've got a lot rep players and their pack is choc full of experienced players … we know that but we've got some guys that have played a lot of big games as well so we know we'll handle that again."
The Storm will ramp up preparations today at AAMI Park ahead of the grand final qualifier.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona (ankle) and Joe Stimson (head knock) will be tested again after being named in the starting 17.