Melbourne have been spared injuries to their Origin contingent and Craig Bellamy expects them back for this weekend’s NRL clash with Parramatta.
Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy expects Ryan Hoffman to back up this weekend against Parramatta despite the second-rower playing a full 80 minutes for NSW in their State of Origin triumph.
For most of his Storm career, Hoffman was returned beaten and bruised from his Origin matches, though – after eight years – the shoe is on the other foot.
Bellamy, himself no stranger to Origin defeats after three years in charge of the Blues, said he was delighted with coach Laurie Daley and Hoffman’s efforts.
“It’s been a long time, a long wait and I’m especially happy for Hoff,” he said.
“Laurie’s done a wonderful job, it was a tight old game and nice to see it coming back to NSW.”
The reward Hoffman can expect for bringing the shield back to NSW is a 15-20 minute break on Sunday.
“To play 80 minutes in his position in an Origin game is a fair effort,” Bellamy said.
“He usually plays 80 minutes for us … when he gets out there, he wouldn’t come off.
“We’ll start him and say we’re going to give you a rest at this stage.”
Bellamy said he expected his Queensland stars Cameron Smith and Billy Slater to also get themselves up for Sunday’s game.
After a devastating Origin I which produced injuries to Cooper Cronk, Smith and Slater, Bellamy was glad to get them back in one piece.
“It’s a nice change from the first one, no doubt,” he said.
“We’ll see what they’re like when they get in. I’m not quite sure how Billy’s (Slater’s) shoulder pulled up.”
Bellamy gave short shrift to the idea that his stars might be rested for Origin III next month – now a dead rubber.
“I don’t think that will be happening,” he said.
“Hoff will want to finish the series off, and Billy and Cameron are just wonderful competitors. They’ll certainly be wanting to play to try and get something out of the series.”