A half-fit Cameron Smith is better than no Cameron Smith at all according to Storm coach Craig Bellamy as his captain battles a virus ahead of their NRL qualifying final against the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
Smith has failed to train with the team this week, missing both their sessions, and only managed to attend one meeting before being sent home.
Bellamy said his skipper, who fell ill on the weekend, had lost weight and looked like “death warmed up”.
Smith may not travel with the team to Sydney on Thursday but Bellamy says he will play at Allianz Stadium when their fourth-placed team takes on the minor premiers.
“He’s genuinely crook and he’s lost a fair bit of weight so hopefully in the next few days he’ll come up a bit better than he is,” Bellamy said.
“If he’s feeling 50 per cent we’ll probably play him.”
Bellamy said criticism of Smith not attending the NRL captains’ launch of the finals series on Monday was unfair but not unexpected.
“It’s typical; as soon as something happens like that Cameron Smith seems to cop it for whatever reason,” Bellamy said.
“I might be wrong but I don’t think North Queensland copped as much criticism as Smithy did but we can honestly say he was genuinely crook,” Bellamy added, referring to injured Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston who also missed the launch.
Bellamy felt his team, who accounted for fellow finalists Brisbane and North Queensland in their last two rounds, had momentum going into the match.
“The last two weeks have been ideal for us results-wise and performance-wise,” he said.
“Our defence has been really pleasing against those teams, so hopefully we can turn up with that attitude and defence cause we’ll need to if we’re going to restrict the Roosters to a score that we might be able to beat.”
He felt the Roosters were the benchmark of the competition for the past three years and on a 12-game winning streak, would take some stopping.
“Their form in the last month has been outstanding,” Bellamy said.
“They’ve beaten the top sides and beaten a couple of them reasonably comfortably as well so it’s a huge challenge for us.”