Uncertainty and patience are words of the week at Melbourne Storm heading into their clash with the Knights in Newcastle on Sunday.
The game itself is a typical, tough mid-season contest but what makes this week difficult is the uncertainty around two key figures at the club.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy has yet to re-sign with the club or state he will take up an opportunity to coach Brisbane while star full-back Billy Slater is still a question mark for this weeks game as he recovers from a hamstring strain.
Bellamy asked both clubs for patience at his press conference on Thursday and wouldnt confirm or deny reports he is expected to sign a new multi-year deal with Melbourne.
“We are getting closer but how close that is Im not sure yet – there are still some things to be thought about yet,” Bellamy said.
“I wasnt going to rush a decision to please anyone. Both clubs have been very patient which I appreciate but they will have to be a bit more patient for me to make my mind up.”
Slater has not had a hamstring injury before and has been struggling to get over the final hurdle and prove his fitness.
With game two of State of Origin fast approaching, he will likely need game time to prove he is fit enough to return for the June 24 game.
“Our medical team have said he has been very close,” Bellamy said.
“He was close to playing in origin and close last week but just hasnt been comfortable for him to think he is 100 per cent.”
While Bellamy hasnt made up his mind on his future, he didnt miss his mark when addressing the NRLs mid-season decision to instruct referees to punish unfair hits on playmakers with visits to the sin bin.
“With using the sin bin now for foul play, I hope they are sensible decisions,” Bellamy said.
“There are still going to be some grey areas, you can just see it now that someone will be given 10 minutes [a sin bin visit] for something and then two weeks later someone doing the same thing wont go to the bin.
Centres Curtis Scott and Will Chambers were both named in the side after recent suspensions.
Bellamy said he had talked to the side about cleaning up their play and added Scott had hopefully learned his lesson after punching Manly back Dylan Walker.
“I havent seen him punch anyone since he got sent off so hopefully he has learned his lesson,” Bellamy added.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.
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