Craig Bellamy will assess the fitness of Cooper Cronk before Thursday night's clash with the Sharks.
Craig Bellamy will assess the fitness of Cooper Cronk before Thursday night's clash with the Sharks. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

Storm coach to decide on fitness of Queensland backs

MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy will make an 11th-hour decision on whether to play Queensland stars Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers in tonight's grand final rematch against Cronulla.

The Queensland pair was given four days off after playing against NSW and Newcastle, within 48 hours, last week.

If the duo plays at Southern Cross Group Stadium it will be the third game in eight days and Bellamy said it might be time to give Chambers and Cronk a rest ahead of what should be another bruising game between the top two teams on the NRL ladder.

"We'll see how they pull up and make a decision from there," Bellamy said.

"Three games in eights days... is a hectic schedule, especially with a real quick Origin game, so we'll just check on them and see how they're going."

Captain Cameron Smith looks likely to make a return to the side after missing last Friday's win over Newcastle.

"He was drained basically, you could see it in his face," Bellamy said.

"I knew it was time to give him a rest."

Melbourne has won only one of its past four clashes against the Sharks since the start of last year and was kept tryless in the defeat in round six this season.

The Storm was also pipped at the last in the 2016 grand final. But Bellamy isn't out for revenge.

"At the end of the day, that game was round six... at lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then," Bellamy said of the 11-2 loss that ended the Storm's unbeaten start to the season.

"You can take a bit out of that game but no two games are ever the same."

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