Melbourne Storm press conference, five-day turnaround, Craig Bellamy, Storm vs Sea Eagles, two away games in five days

Storm coach Craig Bellamy has called for a reduction in short changes to the NRL schedule after his team had to play two away games in Brisbane and Sydney in five days.

The Storm played in Brisbane against the Eels in the Magic Round last Sunday, flying back to Melbourne before heading to Sydney to take on the Sea Eagles on Friday night.

Bellamy did not use the short recovery time as an excuse for his team’s 26-20 loss to Manly, but admitted it was not ideal for the team’s preparation.

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“It doesn’t help. The preparation was short,” Bellamy said.

“I’m not really sure why with Thursday night games (on the schedule) there are still changes of five days or so.

“I think we can handle five-day swings well if one of the games is at home, but we had two away and had to travel twice.

“It’s not a complaint, but for me, if you have a five-day delivery time, one of them has to be at home.”

Bellamy was then asked by Fox League’s Lara Pitt if the short recovery time may be a factor in injuries.

The Storm lost winger Will Warbrick during the game to a calf injury.

“I don’t know. I’m not a medical person. I don’t know why it causes some of the injuries we’ve had, but at the end of the day it doesn’t help,” Bellamy said.

“I just know that traveling can tire you out and when you have five days off, you need at least one of those home games.

“I don’t know if (the tie) was lost because the Magic Round game was our home game when we had to travel to Brisbane, which is one of our longest trips.

“Like I said, for me, I’m not really sure why there are still so many five-day changes for all the teams, not just us, but I think when you have a five-day change, you need at least one at home.

“I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost tonight. It didn’t help our preparation, but in the end we had our opportunities, we didn’t start well at all and that cost us the game.”

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The Storm almost pulled off a huge comeback after trailing by 12 with six minutes remaining, but despite three attacking sets down the Manly line late in the game, the home team kept Melbourne at bay.

Bellamy said poor execution at the start of the first and second half was the reason for the defeat, while praising Manly for a complete 80-minute performance.

“Our start in both halves was poor. I think the first 25 minutes we didn’t even complete 50%,” she said.

“We showed some resilience, but you can’t start games like that and expect to win at this level.

“Manly played to their strengths and played very well over the 80 minutes.

“At times it seemed like we were looking for a quick death, and that just doesn’t work.

“It could have gotten away from us right away with the amount of possession and field position they had in the first half, but our guys held on… We did too much damage in the first half.”

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