Fresh off the back of Melbourne Storm’s intensive Geelong training camp, coach Craig Bellamy has foreshadowed a possible change of strategy with the selection of his two NRL trial squads.
With Storm’s first 2022 trial match at Casey Fields against the NZ Warriors less than three weeks away, followed by the clash against Newcastle in Ballarat eight days later, selecting teams looms ever closer for the experienced coach.
“We usually give the young guys a bit more of a run in the first trial, then close to our round one team in the second trial but I’m not quite sure we'll do that this year,” the reigning Dally M Coach of the Year said.
“We've got a few guys in the All Stars game, so we'll see who's in there. We've got three suspended for the first round so we need to decide what we're going to do there as well, so it might change a little bit this year.
“I think we'll probably give what we think might be the round one team two trials together, but like I say we’ll just see what happens.
“We don't want to play too many of our older or experienced guys in that first trial.
“They're used to footy, and they've played a lot of footy, so we’ve just got a little bit of a balancing act there where we need to sort out the next week or two.”
Bellamy is looking forward to heading out to Ballarat for Storm’s first game in the regional Victoria city.
The February 27 trial match at Mars Stadium is set to be a special one.
“Obviously we're trying to build the game in Melbourne but we're trying to build the game in Victoria as well,” he said.
“At the end of the day, playing in the country districts of Victoria, I think that it's great for us, it's great for our game to take it to the bush in Victoria.”
“Hopefully the people of Ballarat will turn up and watch something a little bit different.”
With training in the middle of summer, getting through the intensive Geelong camp was no easy feat for the Storm group.
“I've been here the whole camp, but it's been probably on par with the hottest couple of weeks we've had here in Geelong,” Bellamy said.
“It's been difficult for the players at times. We've trained in the heat, but we've got through it now.
“We just wanted to get down here and be focused on our work and just make sure we're clear with what we're trying to do, footy wise and off the field.”
Tickets for the upcoming ‘Unite for Tonga’ trial match in the City of Casey on February 19 are on sale NOW, with special packages and discounts available for 2022 members. Get yours here: https://am.ticketmaster.com/melbournestorm/CaseyTrialMatch
Tickets for the Ballarat trial will be available from Wednesday.