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Furious Craig Bellamy insists Storm’s slump is NOT his fault and points the finger at his players

Furious Craig Bellamy insists Storm’s slump is NOT his fault as coach points the finger at his players after suffering their fourth straight loss for the first time in SEVEN years: ‘It’s up to them’ 

  • Melbourne lost 24-12 against South Sydney at Accor Stadium on Saturday
  • Storm have now lost four games in a row for the first time since 2015
  • The defeat saw Melbourne drop out of the top four on the NRL ladder
  • Craig Bellamy has urged his players to work hard to turn things around  

Craig Bellamy has challenged his players to dig themselves out of a hole after Melbourne suffered a fourth straight defeat for the first time in seven years.

The injury-ravaged Storm lost 24-12 at Accor Stadium against South Sydney and have slipped to fifth on the ladder ahead of a very difficult final stretch of the season.

Four of Melbourne’s six remaining games are against teams currently in the top eight, including top of the ladder Penrith and fourth-placed Brisbane.

Craig Bellamy has challenged his players to turn things around after four straight losses

Craig Bellamy has challenged his players to turn things around after four straight losses

Asked whether he felt the Storm could turn things around, Bellamy replied: ‘The only way we can make it happen is working hard and, with all due respect, it’s up to the players to make that decision.’

The four-time premiership-winning coach conceded there were some positives to take from the performance against the Rabbitohs, but lamented his team’s inability to cut out the mistakes that have crept in their game of late.

‘We had some good parts of our game tonight, but we keep making errors,’ he said.

‘There was some good efforts tonight, but there’s some stuff that you’re not going to get away with at this level. We’re just concerned with playing a better than we have in the last weeks.’

The Storm have lost four straight games for the first time since 2015

The Storm have lost four straight games for the first time since 2015 

Melbourne face a very difficult final stretch of the season, with four of their remaining six games coming against current top eight teams

Melbourne face a very difficult final stretch of the season, with four of their remaining six games coming against current top eight teams

Souths’ victory – their first over Melbourne since 2018 – was inspired by the try-scoring feats of winger Alex Johnston, who completed a brace either side of halftime and now has 13 tries in his past six games.

The Papua New Guinean international took his tally of career tries to 157 and is one score away from entering the top 10 of tryscorers in the history of the game in Australia.

Keaon Koloamatangi, Jaxson Paulo and Lachlan Ilias all joined Johnston in crossing the whitewash as Souths recorded their fourth straight win and moved up to sixth spot.

Koloamatangi got the Rabbitohs rolling with a first-minute try and no matter how hard Melbourne tried they quickly became the architects of their own downfall by coughing up the ball on a soggy Sydney night.

Jaxson Paulo scored Souths' fifth try of the night in their 24-12 win on Saturday night

Jaxson Paulo scored Souths’ fifth try of the night in their 24-12 win on Saturday night 

The Rabbitohs have won four games in a row and have climbed up to sixth on the ladder

The Rabbitohs have won four games in a row and have climbed up to sixth on the ladder

Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Harry Grant and Alec MacDonald were all guilty of clumsy ball handling and television cameras captured Bellamy in a state of rage in his coach’s box.

Apart from a few smart kicks, the Storm halves pairing of Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes failed to find their groove.

Johnston scored his first after teaming up with Latrell Mitchell and the only time that Souths’ defence relented in the first half, centre Marion Seve got the Storm on the board.

Seve cantered past Cody Walker from a scrum play to score from 50 metres out to cut the Bunnies’ halftime lead to 10-6.

Latrell Mitchell has been an influential figure for the Bunnies since returning from injury

Latrell Mitchell has been an influential figure for the Bunnies since returning from injury

Alex Johnston (2) scored twice to take his tally of tries for the season to an NRL-best 19

Alex Johnston (2) scored twice to take his tally of tries for the season to an NRL-best 19

After the break, Mitchell set up Johnston in near identical fashion before Ilias backed up a bustling Koloamatangi to dot down.

Mitchell had a quiet night by his standards but the fullback nearly pulled off the play of the season when Souths were deep in their own territory on zero tackle and he kicked over the top for Johnston to chase.

Johnston beat all the Storm players to the ball and hacked ahead but fumbled in the in-goal. 

Paulo extended Souths’ lead soon after with Dean Ieremia offering Melbourne’s only response with a little more than 20 minutes to go.

The Storm were unable to push the Rabbitohs late on and their discipline and lack of creative spark will be a concern for Bellamy.


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