Bellamy drives success: Freddy
Photo Source: AAP
Whether the Storm win or lose on Sunday, Brad Fittler says Craig Bellamy's coaching excellence lifted to another level in 2016.
Melbourne won 19 games in the regular season to finish on top of the ladder for the first time since 2011, when they also won 19 games but fell short in a preliminary final.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith said on Monday that there "was just a different feeling in the group this year" as they rolled through pre-season, and Fittler says it's a credit to them that they have kept it through to the last week of September.
"A lot of teams have that feeling," the former Roosters coach told SportsFan's Will McCloy.
"But what happens during the year, it will erode away to a degree, whether due to injury or through selfishness or certain challenges, players leaving, coming – all sorts of things happen during the year that will break that feeling down.
"There's been no reason this year. They dealt with no Billy Slater early. Cameron Munster stood up straight away. It's been quite incredible that they've got this far without Billy Slater. Outside that, they jagged Suliasi Vunivalu. He's just been unbelievable."
Although Munster also filled in for an injured Slater last year, Fittler says the extra steps that Melbourne have taken are down to the coach.
Fittler believes that Bellamy's nurturing techniques are impossible to replicate by any given coach, given the numerous personalities that can come into a squad and what it takes to mould them into a talented and winning team.
"That's obviously his nature because it's hard work," he said.
"You start dealing with all the players, they've all got different issues. You've got blokes (like) Cameron Smith, who has children, is married, happy, done everything. Then you've got other kids who are mad. Literally ratbags like I was."
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