The coach of the Melbourne Storm has denied that his team was forced out of an NRL Grand Final place by a powerful NZ Warriors performance.
The Warriors beat the highly-rated Melbourne Storm by 20 points to 12, thanks largely to a gutsy defensive effort. The victory put the Warriors into an NRL Grand Final for only the second time in the club’s history.
But Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy claimed that the result was not a defeat.
“Look, mate, the Warriors played some good footy. But at the end of the day the Melbourne boys made a call that they wanted to spend more time with their families.
“It’s been a long season and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved during our time in the 2011 competition.
“A lot of the guys have young families, and we felt it was only fair to the other teams in the competition that we made this announcement before the Grand Final.
“It’s a tough environment to be in, and the pressure on the boys is relentless. But they leave on their own terms, and with no regrets.
“This was absolutely their decision, and nobody else’s. The boys are now looking forward to some exciting new drinking challenges during the off-season, starting with Mad Monday.”