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21 Oct 2017 16:18
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Storm coach calls for NRL schedule change

    Melbourne are preparing to again field an understrength line-up for their NRL clash with Parramatta.

    - article from

    Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy wants an NRL scheduling tweak after State of Origin duties have again depleted his team.

    The Storm will be missing six key players for Saturday's clash with Parramatta at AAMI Park, having lost five in the lead-up to game two of the Origin series.

    It's a different story for the Eels, whose lack of Origin selections boosts their chances of securing victory to remain four points clear of the pack chasing for a top-eight spot.

    Melbourne have the bye next week but Bellamy says he'd prefer it to come earlier to minimise the impact of Origin on his team.

    "We've probably had more games than usual without our Origin players this year," Bellamy said on Friday.

    "It's our decision on whether we can play the Origin players. We're going to lose them for one game but this year we've lost them for two because we've had the bye twice after Origin.

    "It's not a huge thing but ideally we'd like to be able to have that choice whether to play them or not."

    Two of the teams hit hardest by Origin selections - Melbourne and Sydney Roosters - have only had one bye in pre-Origin rounds, while the near-full strength New Zealand Warriors have had two.

    The Storm had mixed fortunes without their stars in the lead-up to game two of Origin, beating North Queensland in round 15 and going down to the Roosters a week later when Bellamy rested four Origin players.

    Both games went to extra time after Melbourne surrendered late leads, and Bellamy hopes to see a stronger finish from his inexperienced charges against the Eels.

    "To be quite honest, we had a rough finish against both of them - we got lucky in one and unlucky in the other, I suppose," Bellamy said.

    "I'd like to think that our young blokes learnt quite a lot from both of those games.

    "Having said that, the first 70 minutes in both games they were outstanding so we'd like to replicate that again this week and try and finish off the game a bit stronger."


    *The Storm have won four of the past five against the Eels.

    *Melbourne are ranked first in tries, points scored and linebreaks.

    *The Eels are scoring the least points in the final quarters of matches.


    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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