Mel­bourne claim mi­nor premier­ship

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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

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