Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says he is “hurt” by accusations that his team is coached to injure opposition players with its tackles.
Bellamy’s Storm has long been accused of controversial defensive tactics and it’s taken only a few weeks of the 2021 season for the Victorians to come under fire again.
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In the Storm’s nailbiting loss to the Panthers last week, a hip-drop tackle from Cameron Munster left Penrith forward Spencer Leniu in agony. Melbourne’s Max King copped criticism for a similar tackle in round 20 of last year.
It wasn’t the first of the side’s tackles to raise eyebrows this season — Storm forward Felise Kaufusi was handed a two-match ban after elbowing Parramatta’s Ryan Matterson in a tackle during round two.
Last week, NRL journalist Paul Kent ripped into Melbourne’s defensive moves, saying the Storm’s tactics are “designed to maim and injure players”.
“Grapple tackle, chicken wing, rolling pin, hip drop, crusher, crocodile rolls, cannon balls, ankle twists — they are all tackles designed to maim and injure players, all pioneered in Melbourne,” Kent said on NRL 360.
“The only constant in Melbourne since 2005 when all those tackles have been brought in and later banned in the game is the head coach Craig Bellamy”.
The Storm’s defensive moves have copped plenty of criticism.Source:Getty Images
Bellamy responded to the claims on Thursday, defending his team and his own coaching..
“I don’t coach people to go out and maim other players, that is certainly not the case,” he said.
The Storm enter round four on the back of losses to Parramatta and Penrith. Those matches marked their first consecutive defeats since 2018.
Bellamy says it’s up to his team to lift in the absence of recently retired captain Cameron Smith, whose leadership has been missed in the Storm’s last two outings.
“To lose a player like Cameron, there are things he does that you didn’t realise he was doing them,” he said.
“Now we need different people to step up and do them, I’m one of those people”.
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