Veteran coach Craig Bellamy has questioned the NRL's wisdom in pitting his Melbourne side against Manly just four days after a State of Origin clash in Perth.
The Storm's Origin contingent - Queenslanders Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Felise Kaufusi - flew on the red eye out of Perth on Sunday night following the brutal battle and then jumped on another flight to Melbourne on Monday.
While Munster (injury) and Kaufusi (personal leave) are set to miss their match against the Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Stadium, Grant flew out for Sydney on Wednesday ahead of the Thursday night game.
Manly have Maroons halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and NSW forward Jake Trbojevic also backing up from Origin.
Given both teams were always going to provide key men to the annual interstate encounter Bellamy believed the draw could have been better handled.
"With all due respect I don't know how much thought has gone into having the Origin match in Perth, then having a Thursday night game for us and Manly.
"Not just us, with Jake and Daly as well, it's hard for them to come back to four days later from an Origin game on the other side of the country.
"So perhaps next time we go to Perth for an Origin game on a Sunday night, they might not have a (NRL) game on a Thursday night."
Meanwhile Bellamy says he's not entirely sure how he will handle the return of superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who hasn't played for eight weeks due to knee/hamstring injuries and then COVID-19.
"He will definitely play but whether he starts off the bench or starts at fullback ... he's missed a lot of footy," Bellamy said.
"We might start him and not have him play the full game.
"We're thinking restricted minutes but we're not sure."
Australian Associated Press
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