Bellamy torches Roosters supremo over ladder reset plan

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has lashed out at a push from the Roosters for the NRL season to resume with every team back on zero points, describing such a move as "unfair".

Roosters' chairman Nick Politis has called for competition points from the opening two rounds for all 16 clubs to be wiped ahead of the planned season restart on May 28 to protect the "integrity of the competition".

But Bellamy has hit back at the suggestion, saying Politis was "trying to look after his own club", as the Roosters target a treble of premierships this year.

 

The fourth-placed Melbourne Storm is one of six teams to make an unbeaten start to the NRL season before it was put on hold. Another four teams notched one victory.

 

Roosters boss Nick Politis has called for the NRL season to resume with every team back on zero points
Roosters boss Nick Politis has called for the NRL season to resume with every team back on zero points

The Roosters were among the six winless teams from the opening two rounds.

Bellamy said every team which had won in the first two rounds had earned those victories and it would be unfair to take those points away.

"There was some talk about this a couple of weeks ago and our chairman Peter V'landys came out and said it won't be happening, but all of a sudden it has raised its head again," Bellamy said.

"Your opinion is going to be on how you went in those first two games, I suppose. If you won the first two you want the points to stay, if you lost your first two then you don't want them to stay.

"Our season was postponed after the first two rounds, it wasn't scrapped. I'm thinking if it's postponed then we continue on as we did before.

 

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is unimpressed with Politis’ comments. Picture: AAP
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is unimpressed with Politis’ comments. Picture: AAP

"Nick coming out and saying that, obviously he's just trying to look after his own club. At the end of the day, the six clubs that have won their first two games, and obviously there is some clubs that have won one game as well, have fought pretty hard to win those games and I know we did.

"I think (his suggestion) is unfair. You're going to be upsetting a lot of fans. The determination was our competition was postponed …. we didn't say that we are ending this competition and starting another one later on, it was we are postponing our season.

"I think all the messaging has been around we are going to start again from where we have finished off. To me, it's the only fair way to start on the points that they earned in those first two rounds."

 

Politis believes the competition will be ‘meaningless’ under current proposals. Picture: NRL Photos
Politis believes the competition will be ‘meaningless’ under current proposals. Picture: NRL Photos

Politis said the competition would be "meaningless" if it resumed over 13 games as it would be "mathematically impossible for the bottom four teams to make the top four".

But Bellamy argued keeping the results from the first two rounds would provide extra time in a shortened season where State of Origin could be played.

"If it's decided everyone is going to play each other once in the condensed season it gives us two extra weeks," Bellamy said.

"Instead of playing 15 games, you've only got to play 13 because we want to fit Origin in.

"Obviously we are looking to get back on May 28, but if it gets pushed back another couple of weeks, then you've got those two weeks up your sleeve."

 

Bellamy has accused Politis of acting with self-interest at heart. Picture: AAP
Bellamy has accused Politis of acting with self-interest at heart. Picture: AAP

 

Bellamy backed the NRL to make the right call on when the season resumed as the league pushed ahead with plans to return late next month.

"We have got to trust the league there and they will be getting advice and guidance from governments," Bellamy said.

"I'm sure the NRL is not going to do anything that is going to put our players or our staff or the community in general under any sort of danger.

"I'm confident in the administration that we have got that they will make the right decisions."

 

VIRUS BREAK COULD HELP STORM: CRONK

Melbourne's ability to start fast and play clinical football might give them the biggest advantage if the NRL's hiatus ends late next month.

The Storm are one of six teams undefeated through the opening two rounds of the competition, after wins over Manly and Cronulla.

They are also renowned as the best starters in the competition. They have won their past 18 round-one matches, going undefeated on the opening weekend of the season since coach Craig Bellamy's signing in 2003. Crucially, they've also won their past 16 matches after a week off, dating back to 2016, be it after a bye, representative round, in the finals or at the season's start.

Cooper Cronk (R) believes the Storm’s structures will serve them well in an unusual season. Picture: Brett Costello
Cooper Cronk (R) believes the Storm’s structures will serve them well in an unusual season. Picture: Brett Costello

Also playing into Melbourne's hands is their clinical nature, according to former champion Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk.

"I think Melbourne and Canberra are positioned perfectly," Cronk told Fox League Live.

"Basically what is going to win you footy games is good defence, high completions and a good kicking game.

"Make the other teams make errors and then you kick on afterwards. And Melbourne has been doing that for a long period of time.

"(They) haven't lost a round one under Craig Bellamy since his beginning. So you would imagine that trend is going to continue." A shorter season should also favour teams who have recorded early wins. The NRL is still to decide the exact format of the schedule depending on meetings this week with broadcasters.

However, it's believed the most likely scenario will be 15 rounds plus some additional rounds for rivalry matches.

An 18-round season, for instance, would likely mean a team could only afford nine losses at the most to make the finals.

And that would place extra pressure on the six teams who have lost both their opening games, including two-time defending premiers the Sydney Roosters. "It's going to be a real mental battle for a lot of teams who are 0-2," says Cronk, who remains on the Roosters' coaching staff.

 

Originally published as Bellamy torches Roosters supremo over ladder reset plan



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