Craig Bellamy takes the losses pretty hard. But he looked more deflated than ever after seeing that the chance to seal back-to-back Grand Final wins was begging with a 10-6 loss to the Panthers.
âWe got what we deserved and Penrith got what they deserved,â he said.
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The exit of the Storm preliminary finals allows them to bid farewell to a number of their most famous stars.
Josh Addo-Carr will head to the Bulldogs, co-captain Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes will leave for Cronulla.
That leaves the storm with places to fill and a necessary consideration for their roster for 2023 and beyond.
âWe’ve had wonderful players at our club over the years and wonderful competitors, but I don’t think we’ve had someone prepping for a game like Dale,â said Bellamy.
âHe was, with all due respect, he was better for our club than the club was for him. He’s taught a lot of guys how to prepare and as we all see on the pitch we haven’t had a better competitor in our club either.
âJosh is still taking, he’s still standing. We will certainly miss it.
âAlong with Nicho he was also a great addition to our club.
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âHe was calm at first to be honest, but what he did for the team when Paps (Ryan Papenhuyzen) was away and the football he produced to help us get to where we have it? fact, we wouldn’t have done it without Nicho.
âThe three of them are going to leave a big hole. But there will be opportunities for other guys to step up and get the job done.
The Storm have made a habit of regenerating after getting their best and brightest rival clubs picked and this fight is sure to intensify next year.
Brandon Smith, Christian Welch, Justin Olam, Kenny Bromwich, Jesse Bromwich, Harry Grant and Tui Kamikamica are all free to speak to rival clubs if they wish from November 1.
The Storm will undoubtedly see 2021 as a year of achievement.
They tied the all-time winning streak and landed a job as minor premier.
And Xavier Coates, Nick Meaney and midseason signing Tepai Moeroa will go some way in filling the gaps left by Addo-Carr, Hynes and Finucane.
But they saved the worst for last, with Grant and Cameron Munster being criticized.
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Grant was seen as the heir to Cameron Smith’s crown, but it was Brandon Smith who drove the Storm’s impressive year.
The Kiwi international missed a lot once he failed his HIA and Grant failed a few times.
âThey’ve had Brandon Smith and Grant all year on and off the bench and the impact they’ve had on the No.9 jersey has been phenomenal throughout the year,â said Braith Anasta.
âWith Smith falling early, Grant didn’t have the impact and he didn’t have one of the best games.
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âIt put more pressure on Hughes and Munster so it put a lot on the No.6 and No.7 to create opportunities. Hughes did, but Munster didn’t have the answers.
Former great Storm Cooper Cronk has said defeat will sting Bellamy, knowing the Melbourne coach has been unable to send three of his most beloved stars as the winners.
âThis loss touched his heart because of the departure of these guys and the success of what these guys did in the middle of the season,â said Conk.
âIn addition, give yourself the opportunity to come back to back. There are a lot of things if they could have made a great arc around 2021 with a Grand Final victory it would have solidified what they have been doing by being away from home for a long time and leaving these boys.
âThat one would have been a real dagger in the heart. Especially considering what they’ve been doing all year, arguably their biggest loss was on the day they needed it most.
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