Melbourne claim minor premiership
Melbourne: Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has heaped praise on his players for defying one of the longest injury lists in the club’s history to claim the minor premiership. The Storm thrashed Cronulla Sharks 26-6 at AAMI Park on Saturday. It has been somewhat forgotten now, but Storm all ran out of outside backs early in the season. Then, later in the year, Storm copped a string of injuries to its forward pack all at the same time.
Despite the setbacks, Storm lost just five games for the season. “What it (the minor premiership) means a lot to me is what we’ve gone through to get there,” Bellamy said. “I can’t remember the last time we had an injury run like we had this year. “We had a lot of outside backs out early in the season and then it was our bigger guys, with Tim Glasby, Jordan McLean and Nelson Asofa-Solomona all out together.
“We’ve had a bit of adversity with injuries, but no one has give up or lost hope. “We just grit our teeth and we got on with it.” Bellamy said his side would immediately readjust its mindset to focus on the weekend’s qualifying final against North Queensland at AAMI Park. Storm will welcome back Asofa-Solomona from suspension to be all but at full strength, minus Billy Slater. “Having the minor premiership after tonight probably doesn’t mean too much,” Bellamy said.
“Everyone probably forgets who wins it halfway through next week. “So we need to get on with the next competition.” The Daily Telegraph Townsville: Johnathan Thurston declared the Cowboys have “plenty of room for improvement” after North Queensland secured a crucial top-four finish by sinking the gritty Titans 32-16 in Townsville on Saturday. The past 20 NRL premiers have come from inside the top four and the Cowboys will get two bites at the cherry as they chase back-toback titles. Coach Paul Green was adamant his side could challenge for the premiership from outside the top four, but the Cowboys can rest easy knowing their season is not on the line when they face minor premiers Melbourne this weekend. The Titans refused to go down without a fight as they chased a drought-breaking finals appearance but North Queensland did enough in front of 21,485 to win their 11th game from 12 starts at 1300 Smiles Stadium this season. The Cowboys’ win also punted Brisbane out of the top four, leaving the Broncos to play an elimination final at Suncorp Stadium this weekend against either the Titans or Tigers.The Daily Telegraph and have made lifelong friends here. “While it will be tough to watch the team from afar next season I wish my teammates all the best for the future. “Most importantly, I have always played for the fans and am forever indebted to them for the support that I have received from them.” A veteran of 247 games, Farah has been limited to just nine games this year as the Tigers send their playing style in a different direction in an attempt to free up their young halves. It’s a move which has Farah set to leave the club for the Rabbitohs, with his departure to help ease some salary cap pressure in the process. “On behalf of everyone at Wests Tigers I would like to thank Robbie for his longterm contribution to the club,” said Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe. The Daily Telegraph