War of words: ‘perhaps there’s a little bit of jealousy’
MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy has hinted Manly coach Des Hasler is the mastermind behind the verbal attack on Storm captain Cameron Smith by former Kangaroos skipper and Manly legend Max Krilich.
Setting the scene for a fiery encounter in their NRL clash at AAMI Park on Saturday night, Krilich says Smith doesn't play in the spirit of the game and he feels it's a disgrace what referees let him get away with.
Bellamy believes Hasler could be behind the comments and as a former hooker Krilich may be jealous of Smith's long-term success.
"It's the same old song at this time of year but a different singer," Bellamy said.
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"Whether Des has been back stage singing and Max is on stage ... I was very surprised - Max played in the same position as Cameron so perhaps there's a little bit of personal jealousy.
"I'm not quite sure why he would come out and say that - perhaps someone was singing from back stage."
Bellamy said Smith's relationship with referees was one of respect rather than intimidation, earnt through his record 400-plus games.
"He's got great experience in our game and he's got a good relationship with referees and that's probably the thing," Bellamy said.
"Most captains have a chat with referees during the game and as long as they are happy with what we're doing that's all that matters."
The competition-leading Storm have recalled their five Origin players, including playmaker Cameron Munster, who were given a rest for last round's win over Gold Coast.
Bellamy said he wasn't sure how those stars would respond to their lengthy break.
"We gave them a break from the game and from training so we will see how that plan works out tomorrow," he said.
"They can't be thinking that they will come back and play well just because they're fresh, they need to have a good preparation and be mentally prepared."
He was on guard for the fifth-placed Sea Eagles, who have been making a ladder charge on the back of four wins from their last five games.
"The Sea Eagles have been playing really well and they've got a big powerful team and a couple of superstars in the Trbojevic boys (Tom and Jake) and Daly Cherry-Evans.
"They add a bit of polish to a lot of big bodies."
Bellamy was speaking at a club celebration of their 1999 and 2009 NRL grand final victories with 50 former and current players present.
He said a title in 2019 would be a nice synergy.
"It would be really nice but there's a lot of hard work before then and we need a few things to go our way."