The Melbourne Storm fielded such an inexperienced side on Saturday night because of their crushing injury toll that many of the players would never have been on the receiving end of a Craig Bellamy spray.
Well, they have now.
The Storm slumped to a 26-12 defeat to the Bulldogs in their first home game of the season.
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After Melbourne limped to the sheds trailing 26-0 at half-time, Bellamy unleashed on his side.
The Storm then piled on two converted tries in five minutes to close the deficit to 26-12 just before the hour mark, but the Bulldogs held on as Cameron Ciraldo recorded his first win as an NRL head coach.
Bellamy then unloaded on his troops again.
The Storm missed 50 tackles and conceded several soft tries.
Souring the night even more was an injury suffered by Nelson Asofa-Solomona, who sustained a knee injury and is expected to miss games.
Cooper Cronk, who played under Bellamy throughout his entre Storm career, expects the veteran mentor’s tirades to trigger a response.
“To make tackles you don’t need to be Cameron Munster,” Cronk said on the Fox League coverage.
“He prides his players and his team on hard work and defending for long periods of time.
“The thing about Craig Bellamy is when he hits you between the eye like this, you don’t want to make eye contact with him, you try to avoid him for the next three or four days, but you go and show what that club and that jersey mean to you in the next game.
“So, it’s going to be a tough review for the Storm players, they’ll be doing some hard work on the training field, but those players that played tonight will get a chance to show Craig Bellamy what their character is like when they play the Titans next week.”
Cronk described Bellamy’s half-time address as “nuclear”.
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The Bulldogs played with spectacular flare in attack, rediscovering a brand of footy that came about under Mick Potter as interim head coach last season.
Jacob Kiraz bagged a double, Jacob Preston scored in his second NRL game, Josh Addo-Carr crossed against his former club and Jake Averillo snared a try of his own.
“We just lost control of a lot of sets really early in the tackle count tonight,” Bellamy said in his press conference.
“Like I say, it’s when they start getting a roll on (that) it’s hard to stop. They were getting rolls on early in the set. It made it really hard to stop.
“We got what we deserved.
“With all due respect, it could have been 40 (points) when it was 26.
“Like I say, we’ve got a whole heap of work to do, and we’ve got a whole heap of adjusting our mindset (to do).”
Munster missed the game after suffering a compound fracture to a finger in his right hand in round one.
The champion five-eighth underwent surgery and isn’t expected to return until round four.
“At the end of the day, that’s not going to make any difference unless we want to show a bit of pride in our footy, show a bit of pride in what we’re about as a footy team, or what we’re supposed to be about as a footy team, and also a bit of pride at home here,” Bellamy said.
The Storm will meet the Titans on the Gold Coast next Saturday afternoon, while the Bulldogs are set to face Wests Tigers at Belmore Sports Ground next Sunday afternoon.
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