Craig Bellamy has described Johnathan Thurston's 2015 season as one of his best to date but knows his side must nullify the champion halfback if they are to return to the winner's list on Saturday night.
Thurston and the Cowboys return to Melbourne in Round 25 for the first time since 2012, facing a Storm side eager to make amends for a missed opportunity against the Knights last weekend. Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Bellamy acknowledged the attacking potency carried by Thurston and his Cowboys teammates who, earlier in the season defeated Storm in a thrilling golden point contest in Townsville.
"He's (Thurston) a huge influence on that team, he has been for a whole heap of time," Bellamy explained.
"This year he's probably been as good as he's ever been to be quite honest.
"He's such a great competitor, it doesn't matter what needs doing, he goes and does it. He's been doing that for a lot of years, he's certainly been doing a lot of that this year and it's caused sides a lot of problems."
The Storm coach said his side, while needing to learn from their Round 24 clash with the Knights could not afford to dwell on the defeat particularly with the quick turnaround between Monday Night Football and Saturday's contest.
"There was a bit of honest feedback earlier in the week and then we wiped it and got on with the Cowboys," Bellamy said.
"There were a few truths that needed to be told. That was done and we're moving onto this week."
Melbourne require victory to consolidate their position inside a competitive top eight of the NRL table. Following Saturday night's match, Storm will travel to the Sunshine Coast on Sunday to begin a three-day training camp prior to their Round 26 meeting with the Broncos in Brisbane.