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Is Bellamy better than a 50-50 bet?

All good things must come to an end.

I’ve seen enough to think we are rapidly moving into the final act of the Craig Bellamy dynasty. In fact I reckon his depleted Storm will struggle to win half their remaining games.

With his stable of immortals in waiting merely a fond memory, Bellamy now finds himself in the real world of coaching, where 50 per cent isn’t a bad return.

The brilliance of Cameron Munster might mean they do slightly better than that, but they’re a long way from the Cameron Smith-led team that could quietly turn up each week, have a chat with the ref, wrestle a few people and disappear with the two points.

This year many were lulled by Melbourne’s mid-season success. They ran through the weaker teams, winning six in a row, with Xavier Coates and Ryan Papenhuyzen contributing an astonishing 18 tries.

However, their absence, along with that of plenty of their friends, makes the rest of this season look grim. They have a very tough road to the finals, and finishing in the top four will be a tricky assignment. Then the unthinkable might happen, and the Storm might be straight out the back door.

How difficult is their run home? Well, I reckon it’s nearly all uphill and into an almighty wind. You can pencil in two points at AAMI against the good old Gold Coast, but after that their only other home game is against a desperate Roosters. That looks like a toss of the coin at best at the moment.

The Storm’s away games all look challenging, with the possible exception of their trip to Mt Smart, although in the final days of the empire nothing can be taken for granted. There is danger lurking in all of their remaining trips north, having to face Rabbitohs, Panthers, Broncos and Eels.

Craig Bellamy waves to Melbourne Storm supporters

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

So my crystal ball has them managing three, maybe four wins. Although they’ll be in the top half of the table, they won’t be in the top half of the eight. Therefore they might be in for a one-week finals series.

So where did it all go wrong? Usually the wheels on the Storm’s bus go round and round for 26 rounds, but this year they started to wobble right back in Round 1 with Christian Welch’s knee injury.

Others will point to the loss before the season of three of their most effective players, namely Josh Fox, Nicho Hynes and Dale Finucane.

However, the rot started when Brandon Smith, Munster and Nelson Asofa-Solomona started sporting their ‘look-at-me’ haircuts. My mind immediately flashed back to the 1975 grand final Graeme Langlands white boots fiasco.

Could you imagine Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater in anything but short back and sides? The Storm used to be all about putting the team first. They were single-minded, well-oiled and almost mechanical. But now a few of them seem to be more about jokes and buffoonery. The current lack of respect for the coach is quite clear. Cameron Smith has commented a few times in recent years that Bellamy seems to have softened and the young players are no longer scared of him.

I’m glad they’re all getting on so well, but that lack of discipline might be resulting in outbursts like the one that Brandon Smith recently directed at a referee.

When Bellamy first coaxed the Storm out of their teacup his trademark was fire and brimstone. Many reports suggest he might now be a bit more pipe and slippers.

Rugby league is a professional game, but the only true premierships are the friends we make along the way. Bellamy might be letting his hair down, trying to be one of the cool kids, but it really is time he started looking at the company he keeps.

He also might want to get the old whip out and give it a crack.

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