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The battle in the coach’s box will be just as intriguing as the one on the field tomorrow night.

Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett have coached 1,180 NRL games between them and will be tapping into every bit of that experience to try and out do the other.

Bellamy spent five years as an assistant coach under Bennett at the Broncos during the last 90s, early 2000s before taking the reigns at Melbourne in 2003.

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Despite going head to head with his former mentor for the last 15 years, the Storm coach remains grateful for the chance he received under Bennett.

“There is certainly a healthy respect,” Bellamy said.

“I will always be extremely grateful for the opportunity I got up there to work under him for five years and to work with the caliber of players they had up there. That was a great experience for me and I really enjoyed my time up there.

“I’d always be grateful to him and the Broncos, that will never change no matter what happens.”

Respect will not change the fact Bellamy will be doing everything possible to pick apart the tactics of Bennett.

He holds an impressive record over Bennett counterpart, winning 21 of their 31 encounters over the journey. Storm has also beaten the Broncos in 12 of the last 14 meetings.

That makes for happy meeting but neither stat is likely to bare much weight on Friday night.

“With all due respect this is a different game, it is a bigger game than most that we’ve played against them,” Bellamy said.

“That is a nice stat for our history but it is not going to matter tomorrow night.

“There is a healthy rivalry there. We have a lot of Queensland guys in our team that play Origin so some of these guys play together at rep footy.

“With the Broncos team most of those guys have played rep footy so they know how the game is going to be. Hopefully we’ve prepared properly for it.”

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Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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