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Storm challenged in Sharks NRL build-up

NZN 7/06/2017 Scott Bailey and Luke Costin

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy admits his team have had a challenging build-up to Thursday night's top-of-the-table NRL clash with Cronulla.

The first-placed Storm have trained just twice since Friday's 40-12 flogging of Newcastle, including just light sessions on Sunday and Wednesday.

The Storm will rest halfback Cooper Cronk, due to a high workload through the Origin period.

Queensland centre Will Chambers trained for the first time this week on Wednesday after being granted leave over the weekend.

But Bellamy said he was undeterred by a schedule which had comparatively gifted the Sharks the bye in the lead-up in to the grand final rematch.

"It's been a bit challenging," Bellamy said.

"It probably is (a bit rough) but, at the end of the day, that's the way it is.

"When Origin comes, you batten down the hatches and do what you have to do.

"The draw at times favours some teams and, at other times, it doesn't favour other teams. But it evens out at the end of the three games."

Fitness could be a deciding factor in the match, given their round-six clash (11-2) and last year's grand final (14-12) were low-scoring affairs.

Cronulla had four representatives to Melbourne's three in last week's fast-paced Origin opener, while Storm captain Cameron Smith was rested from the Knights game.

In contrast to the Storm, Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said he could see something brewing this week at training.

Sharks players were given four days off last week after their round-12 win over Canterbury, leading into the bye.

They then trained before they were given another weekend off, and have enjoyed their regular run of preparation into Thursday's clash.

"We enjoy the rivalry," Flanagan said on Wednesday.

"The way the boys trained this week and, especially today, they can smell something special is coming tomorrow."

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