MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — MAY 03: Craig Bellamy, coach of the Storm looks on during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Gosch's Paddock on May 3, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — MAY 03: Craig Bellamy, coach of the Storm looks on during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Gosch's Paddock on May 3, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Storm coach hails returning Raider

Storm coach Craig Bellamy has stopped short of placing a target on Raiders winger Jordan Rapana's reconstructed shoulder ahead of Friday night's blockbuster in Canberra.

Rapana will line up for the green machine some four months ahead of schedule following a shoulder reconstruction last year.

"We're not going to go away from our whole game plan just to run at Jordan or kick at Jordan," Bellamy said.

"He's a class player and he's been one of the best wingers in the comp for a lot of years so I'm sure he wouldn't be playing if he wasn't ready."

 

But Bellamy remains wary of the Raiders wingers and outside backs, who boast a solid record against the Storm despite the hosts having lost six of the past seven matches against Melbourne.

"Rapana and (Nick) Cotric, you're not going to get too many stronger (and) more physical wingers than them," Bellamy said.

"Their outside backs for a number of years have been really good and very effective (against us), we'll have to defend really well tomorrow night to try and restrict their opportunities."

With scattered thunderstorms forecast for Canberra on Friday night and a 60 per cent chance of rain in the afternoon and evening, the Storm has done its best to prepare for torrid conditions, hosing down balls before handling drills.

CJordan Rapana’s return adds an extra threat to Canberra’s backline. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images
CJordan Rapana’s return adds an extra threat to Canberra’s backline. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images


The Storm completed really well last week against Brisbane Broncos, something Bellamy hopes will continue.

"We did a little bit of that (hosing down balls) early in the week," Bellamy said.

"We might do a little bit again today, but sometimes with the weather prediction, we know how unpredictable it can be, you don't want to be putting all our eggs in the one basket there if it doesn't rain."