Stim­son’s grand re­ward af­ter keep­ing a lid on his dis­ap­point­ment

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - 2018 GRAND FINAL - THE SELF­LESS PER­FORMER MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

THE Storm were in the midst of their pre-sea­son train­ing camp when coach Craig Bel­lamy sin­gled out Joe Stim­son for praise.

It had been months ear­lier but Bel­lamy had not for­got­ten. Stim­son had played seven con­sec­u­tive games be­fore he got the call from Bel­lamy that he would be axed for the re­turn­ing Tohu Har­ris.

Har­ris would go on to win a premier­ship as Stim­son was rel­e­gated to 18th man du­ties.

Bel­lamy could have handed Stim­son the same fate this year but has shown faith in the un­her­alded 22-year-old de­spite vet­eran Ryan Hoff­man be­ing fit to play.

Stim­son’s self­less­ness was given high praise by the Storm men­tor.

“Craig said how well I took the dis­ap­point­ment and it was a team-first men­tal­ity and that’s what we are about,” Stim­son said. “Sure you’re go­ing to be filthy but you can’t let the boys know that be­cause that would be a damp­ener on ev­ery­one else.

“To have him ac­knowl­edge and no­tice that — it made it all worth it when I think about it.”

Stim­son re­mem­bers the emo­tional call to his dad Peter — who played two games for South Syd­ney in 1997 — when Bel­lamy had told him of his de­mo­tion.

“I was emo­tional but I un­der­stood that was best for the team,” Stim­son said. “Craig said I was play­ing some good footy but it’s just the way the cookie crum­bled. Call­ing dad I knew and he knew it was com­ing. He said con­grat­u­la­tions on your first year of NRL foot­ball. He came to the game last week and I gave him and mum a big hug at the end.”

Hav­ing warmed up as 18th man last year Stim­son is ready­ing him­self for his first grand fi­nal ap­pear­ance to­day.

Storm’s Joe Stim­son.

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