Craig Bellamy looking at halves rotation to help fill void left by Cooper Cronkhttp://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl ... 52f6f4f3ed
MELBOURNE master coach Craig Bellamy is considering introducing an Australian cricket-style rotation system for the Storm halfback job next season as the club braces for life after Cooper Cronk.
Bellamy said it was a “surreal” feeling beginning Melbourne pre-season without Cronk for the first time in 14 years, with the Test halfback quitting the Storm for personal reasons and signing with the Roosters for 2018.
While Queenslanders Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cameron Munster remain to keep the majority of the Storm’s spine intact, losing Cronk’s experience and game management at No. 7 has created an off-season of uncertainty for Bellamy.
“He has been a big and important part of our team here for 14 years, so it is going to be a bit strange to be quite honest,” Bellamy said.
“It is a little bit surreal not having him here, and that is only going to be reinforced by seeing him playing with someone else.
“We have a bit of work to do to find the right guy to fill his position, but hopefully we can do that.”
ellamy said given the youth and inexperience of the contenders looking to replace Cronk next season, the idea of rotating “two or three” players in the No. 7 jersey was something he was looking at.
“(A rotation system) is something we are looking at. We will see how it unfolds.
“It is very early in the piece for us to make concrete plans, but I am thinking that is more than likely the way we go about it. That is one way we can get through it
“Where we are standing now, we are probably thinking that Brodie Croft is a frontrunner. But Brodie has only played three or four games in first grade,” Bellamy said.
“Those games were at halfback, but to expect him to play the whole season …. I don’t know whether that I realistic to be quite honest.
“The pressure that he is going to be under next year will be enormous, the defences will be coming after him. Us expecting him to play 24 games or 25 games in a row in the grind of the NRL, that is tough going.
“We have some other young guys coming through who could play that role as well.
“Ryley Jacks played a couple of games in first grade last season. He came out of nowhere really and did a really solid job for us.
“We have Jahrome Hughes, who can play in the halves as well, and another young kid called Scott Drinkwater who played a lot in the Queensland Cup last year, mostly at fullback but he has played in the halves as well.
“Between those guys, someone will hopefully grab that spot. But if we have to use two or three of them throughout the year, then we will do that.”