MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — MAY 16: Billy Slater of the Melbourne Storm and Storm coach Craig Bellamy talk during a Melbourne Storm NRL media session at Gosch's Paddock on May 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — MAY 16: Billy Slater of the Melbourne Storm and Storm coach Craig Bellamy talk during a Melbourne Storm NRL media session at Gosch's Paddock on May 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The ridiculous schedule that makes a champion team

ASK any NRL coach and they will tell you they never switch off. They wake up in the middle of the night with their brain going a million miles an hour.

For Craig Bellamy, his job takes up a staggering 90 hours of his week, as he tries to defy history and propel Melbourne to back-to-back NRL titles.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the daily sacrifice the Storm coach makes to prepare his side for every NRL match.

The minimum 12-hour days will likely stretch out to 14 hours this week as a top-of-the-table clash looms with second-placed South Sydney at ANZ Stadium of Friday night.

Before earning the mantle as one of the game's greatest coaches, Bellamy got there by being one of the most thorough.

Bellamy has won two legitimate premierships with Melbourne. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Bellamy has won two legitimate premierships with Melbourne. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

Showing extraordinary passion and endurance, Bellamy works seven days a week for the entire NRL season - from January until October.

"I've got a pretty good work ethic - that's probably my biggest strength," Bellamy told The Daily Telegraph.

"It can vary but there's not many days that aren't 12-hour days. Some days are even longer than that.

"Every now and then, toward the end of the week, you might be a little bit shorter.

"But it's a time-consuming job if you do it properly."

Hard work is the secret to Bellamy’s success. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images.
Hard work is the secret to Bellamy’s success. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images.

And Bellamy does things properly. His task list is embarrassingly long.

He does reviews and previews, cuts up footage from games, watches video on his opposition, delivers team talks, organises group chats with his on-field units - left side, right, middles, halves and kickers, as well as individual meetings.

He spends hours analysing, training and lower grades, meets with his assistant coaches, strength and conditioning staff and medical people, gets updates on recruitment and retention, discusses the salary cap with CEO Dave Donaghy and the Storm's list manager, as well as juggling media and sponsorship commitments.

"It is a long week," Bellamy said.

"I just want to do the best job I can because that is what you expect from your players.

"It has all worked out pretty good for me so far."

The Melbourne machine rolls on. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images.
The Melbourne machine rolls on. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images.

Former Manly and Canterbury coach Des Hasler was the same. He would walk into the club's offices by 6am most days.

"Having said that, you're not working those sort of hours the whole year," Bellamy said.

"I'm talking in-season. Out-of-season, you're still reasonably busy. And pre-season, you're still reasonably busy.

"But it's not that hectic and you wouldn't work those hours every day. It's not a 12-month grind, but an eight-month grind.

"You can get plenty of time to recharge and get ready for the next season."

No team has won successive titles in a united competition since Brisbane in 1992-93.

Defending premiers Melbourne have emerged as competition favourites with five rounds remaining. Bellamy has somehow managed to stay focused and fresh throughout this campaign and, indeed, his marvellous career.

The Storm face another title challenger this weekend. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images.
The Storm face another title challenger this weekend. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images.

Asked how he stayed young, Bellamy said: "I'm not quite sure. I don't sit down and try and pep myself up. Young people, they really help.

"The one thing that has been really good here in the last couple of years is the coaching group that work with me, they're a very, very young group, they are full of ideas and are very enthusiastic.

"But at the same time they have a great work ethic - all that helps. You fall in a little bit with the people you are working with.

"I'm working with a lot of young people, I think that helps keeps me - invigorated isn't the right word - helps keep me keen and coming up a few different things to make it interesting for players, and to make it interesting for coaches as well."

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