The Courier-Mail

Cronk backs Bel­lamy on harsh draw

- CHRIS GARRY

COOPER Cronk says the Mel­bourne Storm have an un­fair draw, agree­ing with his coach Craig Bel­lamy’s rant against their harsh sched­ule.

The Storm play the Bron­cos on Thurs­day night at Sun­corp Sta­dium, their third game in 10 days. To make mat­ters worse, the Storm’s tough sched­ule comes on the eve of the fi­nals.

But while Cronk backed Bel­lamy’s pas­sion­ate out­burst against the sched­ule, the star half­back also felt the hard draw could best pre­pare the Storm for the fi­nals.

The Storm lost to New­cas­tle last Mon­day, de­feated the third-placed Cowboys 14-6 in wet con­di­tions on Satur­day night and now face the sec­ond­placed Bron­cos.

Mel­bourne also had a five­day turn­around at the end of the Ori­gin se­ries when they lost to the War­riors on Sun­day, July 12 and then de­feated the Pan­thers the fol­low­ing Fri­day.

They also had five-day turn­arounds be­tween Rounds 12 and 13, and from Round 1 to 2.

Bel­lamy la­belled the sched­ule a “joke” and said it had cre­ated an un­even com­pe­ti­tion.

“I back Craig in with his thoughts on five-day turn­arounds and the sched­ule,” Cronk said. “It is a talk­ing point. As a player, I will do what is re­quired.

“(Play­ing) two top-four teams in the last week of the com­pe­ti­tion ... that will tell us where we are at.”

The Storm will likely fin­ish fifth or sixth on the lad­der, giv­ing them a week one, sud­den­death home fi­nal.

 ??  ?? UN­FAIR: Cooper Cronk.
UN­FAIR: Cooper Cronk.

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