Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy admits his team must learn to ‘stabilize the ship’ as club legend Cameron Smith is no longer on the squad.
The Storm couldn’t build on last week’s victory over the Rabbitohs in the second round, descending to the eels 16-12 in wet and slippery conditions at Bankwest Stadium.
Bellamy’s men were in the back for most of the night, forced to level the scores twice without being able to hit the front of the scoreboard the entire game before Eels winger Maika Sivo sealed it with a superb aerial try in the 76th minute.
The loss will undoubtedly be even more frustrating for Melbourne given they were in the best part of errors and ruck offense tally, with the Eels producing more negative plays as the Storm had the possession tally at 55%. .
Asked what was wrong, Bellamy said her team still had to learn to keep their cool as they continued to adjust to life without Smith, who announced his retirement from the game earlier this month.
“We know we have work to do. Without Cameron we still have to learn our way a bit,” Bellamy told reporters after the game.
“We got a bit lost last week but we managed to stabilize the ship, whereas tonight I don’t think we have stabilized it well.
“As I told the players, I couldn’t have asked for more effort from them, but maybe I could ask for a few smarter efforts.”
Bellamy added that he needs to understand how he can get the most out of the playgroup, as Smith is no longer there to ‘cover’ and pick up players when matches are on the line.
“We’re still learning, that’s part of it. We have to take that responsibility,” he added.
“We’re sitting in the locker room at halftime thinking, ‘we’ve got to keep finishing with the ball and stay patient.’ But it’s like, ‘the guy next to me, he has to do that. “
“I don’t know if they see the need to do it, when Smith would look for them there.
“It’s still a part that we have to do properly – to cover what he’s brought with us the last few years in a game like this.”