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