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Protecting playmakers is paramount: Bellamy

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy believes more must be done to protect playmakers from being on the receiving end of late tackles.

Roosters star Cooper Cronk was floored by a late hit when he was tackled by Tevita Pangai Jnr during his side's 36-4 victory over the Broncos on Thursday night.

It follows up a similar incident in the first game of the season that drew the ire of Bellamy at the time, when Matt Lodge took out Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster in the opening exchanges of the contest.

Both Pangai and Lodge were cited for their tackles, but Bellamy thinks even more could be done if the league decided to crackdown on similar incidents.

"We saw what happened to Cooper the other night and we don’t want that happening to our playmakers," Bellamy said.

"You’ve got an 80-kilo guy being hit by a 100-kilo guy. When they are not looking (it) can cause some damage and we want to restrict that as much as we can.

Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk.
Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"Our guys have done it at times as well, but it's something we need to take a stricter view on."

Bellamy is sure to keep a close eye on the attention Munster receives from the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park.

The Bulldogs head into the match on the back of an impressive 22-8 upset victory over the Wests Tigers and will be buoyed by their recent dominance over Bellamy's side in Melbourne.

Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster.
Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

You have to go back to the 2013 season to find the last time the Storm were victorious over the Bulldogs at AAMI Park and Bellamy will be taking nothing for granted when the two sides do battle.

"The Bulldogs were really impressive last week and Dean Pay has done a great job with them," he said.

"They have lost a lot of good players and a lot of experienced players with guys like (Aaron) Woods, (David) Klemmer and the Morris boys (brothers Brett and Josh Morris).

"There's no feeling this week that we are playing a side that has been weakened through the off-season with a few guys leaving.

"They are a dangerous team with the footy, their completion rate is high and they really ask a lot of questions."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith heads into the clash needing a further nine points to overtake Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri and become the leading point-scorer in the history of the game.

But Bellamy said the point-scoring milestone wasn't on his or the players' minds as the Storm try and stay focused on maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.

"The boys are aware of it and Cameron is aware of it, but it’s something we haven’t spoken about," he said.

"We don't want to go out there thinking we have got to score so many tries for Cameron to get the record.

"If it comes this week, great. If it doesn't, it will come next week or the week after."

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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