‘Special’: History beckons for title favourites
They were born 35 years apart but Storm coach Craig Bellamy and champion five-eighth Cameron Munster both have their own reasons for wanting to match the extraordinary 19-game winning streak record of the champion 1975 Roosters outfit.
Melbourne, with 18 wins in a row, can equal the Roosters achievement with a win over the Titans on Thursday night.
Bellamy is only too familiar with the 1975 team, captained by Arthur Beetson, that also boasted a suite of stars such as John Peard, John Brass, Mark Harris, Ron Coote and Ian Schubert.
The 61-year-old is a keen student of the game. He was a 15-year-old Dragons fan on grand final afternoon in 1975 when his sister remarkably got married on the same day Eastern Suburbs beat St George 38-0.
“I can remember the 1975 Roosters side and what a great side they were, so for me it is fairly special,” Bellamy said when asked about equalling the milestone of the Jack Gibson-coached side.
Jahrome Hughes was concussed against Canberra and had to leave the field. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I am not quite sure how big a thing it is for the players. I reckon in 20 years time it might be a big thing, but it won’t be if we don’t do it.
“To me it would be a nice milestone, but the most important thing is that we are playing our best footy in September.”
Munster is a Queenslander to the core and Beetson’s legacy is one he holds dear. The 26-year-old is filled with awe as he approaches a 46-year-old mark that the rugby league Immortal was involved in.
“We need to find the motivation to keep the streak going and fingers crossed we can,” Munster said after starring in the 26-16 win over Canberra.
“I wasn’t alive when Arthur played. I was born in 1994, but I heard a lot of stories about Arthur and how he never felt prouder than to put a Queensland jersey on. He did a lot of things, captaining Australia and the Roosters and being such an icon of the game and for Indigenous players as well.
“It is good for the Melbourne club – 18 wins in a row – but the last two weeks have been fairly scratchy on our behalf.
“I know we had been blowing teams away, but I think we needed those grinding games to get ourselves battle hardened for what is to come.”
Cameron Munster says the Storm needs to keep showing respect to the opposition. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
After Cameron Smith retired at the end of last year, Munster admitted he had no inkling the 2021 Storm would be such a force.
“To be honest with you, no,” he said.
“We just wanted to have a consistent season and make sure we were in the top four and have two cracks at the cherry. We are obviously in good stead, but we can’t sit on our laurels and just worry about the top four coming after us.
“We need to have respect for every team we play because when you show teams no respect it shows. The last couple of weeks we have probably been a bit complacent.”
Remarkably, the Titans were the last team to beat the Storm at a Queensland venue back in 2017 when they won 38-36 at Suncorp Stadium.
“I remember it is as clear as day because we were wearing the Indigenous jersey. Anthony Don batted it down to Konrad Hurrell for the Titans to score the winning try,” Munster said.
“The Titans know how to play good footy. We had a run-in with them in the Origin period this year when the boys got the win, but they will come along wanting to spoil the party, and they have big ambitions wanting to make the top eight.
“They will come with a good attitude and we will need to play our best footy to weather that storm.”
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