What Craig means to us: Smith
Every player needs a role model and for Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, Craig Bellamy is theirs.
For the best part of 16 years the coach has overseen the careers of arguably the greatest trio to ever play the game together.
They have grown up in a way, as people and players, under the watch of Bellamy.
He has offered them advice when they needed it and set the example from day one.
It is that example that has driven all three of them to become the champions they are today.
“In those first few years we’d turn up to training and he’d be in the gym training his guts out,” Cameron Smith said.
“We’d walk past him and think ‘look at this manic’ but that is where it starts. It starts from the top and he came down and he wanted to set an example of what he wanted the Club to be about and that was hard work, mental toughness and perseverance.
“That is really all we’ve built our careers on. We don’t try and be too flashy or special or anything like that, it is just get in, work hard and do your best at the role that you are given."
You need to be a bit of luck to have a long career and even an added dose to be one of the greatest of the modern era.
For Smith, Cronk and Slater, their luck arrived the moment Craig Bellamy walked through the doors of Melbourne Storm.
“We’ve been very lucky to have a great coach for such a long time. In the modern game there hasn’t been too many coaches stay at the one organisation as long as this fella has,” Smith said.
“For us, playing our entire career under Craig, we owe a lot of what we’ve done as footballers and as people to Craig.
“He just instilled hard work into us. He always says that the harder you work, the more luck that seems to come your way.
“That is really all we’ve ever lived by, that is really all we’ve thought each day we turn up for work.”