Melbourne Storm want title despite Nines timing

Last updated 16:59 12/02/2014
Craig Bellamy
Getty Images
CONFIDENT: Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

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Whatever Craig Bellamy thinks of rugby league's Auckland Nines, it's still a competition the Melbourne Storm want to win.

The Storm coach continues to make it clear he is unhappy with the timing of this weekend's mini-tournament.

Bellamy will coach the team in Auckland and says the players involved are determined to do well.

"Anyone who pulls on a Storm jumper, he wants to go out and compete hard," Bellamy said.

"We want that mentality to go right across - it doesn't matter whether it's nines or 13s.

"Hopefully the boys can do well."

But Bellamy said he is neither looking at the Nines as pre-season match practice or the chance to win some prizemoney.

"It's something the club has to be involved in," he said.

"As I've said before, I don't think the timing is actually right.

"We haven't done this before, so I suppose it is a bit of a disruption.

"The guys who are going over are keen to do well so we'll have to put a bit of time into it.

"I'm not quite sure what the right tactics are - I don't think anyone probably does - so it will be a bit of suck and see I imagine."

Bellamy added their squad for the Nines is occasionally training away from the rest of the team this week to prepare for the Auckland competition.

Meanwhile, the Storm coach said he is pleased with Cameron Smith's fitness as he prepares for the regular season.

Smith and fellow World Cup stars Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk are having delayed starts and will not play in Auckland.

Cronk is yet to return, while Bellamy said Slater had done some work with the team this week.

"Cameron has come along fine - actually he's come back in really good nick and he's been going really good for this time of year.

"The other two, with their injuries, we'll just track them along."

Melbourne are anxious for a decision from Smith as soon as possible as he weighs up a big offer from the Brisbane Broncos.

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- Fairfax Media

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