Craig Bellamy

Bellamy lauds stand-in fullback Munster

Munster was the star of the show in Melbourne’s 36-18 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Perth on Saturday night, making the most of his return to the No.1 jersey in the absence of Billy Slater.

The Queensland Origin five-eighth will move back into the halves when Slater returns from injury to play his 300th game, potentially next week, with his coach confident he can have a similar impact to what he had against the Bulldogs.

“He didn’t even have a touch there for a while but when he had a few he caused some problems,” Bellamy said.

Bellamy and Smith don't plan to retire together at Storm

Since both are off contract at the end of the 2018 Telstra Premiership, there has been speculation suggesting they could exitithe AAMI Park gates simultaneously so they didn't have to exist without the other.

Bellamy told NRL.com no such plans or conversations had taken place on the subject of synchronising their final curtain calls.

"At the end of the day he's never asked me what I'm doing and I've never asked him. It's a pretty private and personal thing," Bellamy said.

Bellamy praises all-conquering Smith and Slater

The champion duo claimed every available major medal and trophy over the last year, including the Golden Boot and Dally M and Clive Churchill medals. On a team level, they secured a State of Origin series victory, a World Cup win, a Telstra Premiership and now a WCC triumph.

Bellamy said they don't always get the recognition they deserve.

"I was a really proud coach tonight," he said.

Bellamy to address cracks in Storm defence

The Storm have now conceded more than 20 points three times this season – all in the past four rounds – after allowing teams to score that many points just twice in 2016.

It could be the wake-up call the side needs before they enter a difficult Origin period without several of their stars.

Bellamy made sure his side learned from their mistakes after the full-time siren as they move ahead for the rest of the season.

Slater almost cleared for shock return

Melbourne Storm star Billy Slater was almost cleared to make an unlikely return from injury in the NRL finals series.

Slater, 33, underwent surgery on his shoulder in March, ruling him out for the rest of the season.

But the full-back was pushing for a return, with the Storm facing the Cronulla Sharks in the grand final on Sunday.

Storm football director Frank Ponissi confirmed Slater was close to a surprise comeback.

"He was feeling great within himself, he started training and he just decided to ask the question then [in August]," he told SEN.