Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has praised his side for what he's labelled the best NRL title win of his career.
On Sunday, the Storm held off a charging Penrith Panthers side in the dying minutes of the Grand Final to secure a 26-20 victory and Bellamy's fifth premiership as head coach.
A year of interruptions and sacrifice made the victory that much sweeter for the coach and captain Cam Smith, after five long months on the road.
"With the conditions that we've been under, I think it's just a remarkable effort to be here and to get a victory," Smith says.
The game was won in the first half, with the Storm running in three tries - including an opening penalty try - to lead 22-0 at the break, before a second-half surge from the Panthers threatened an improbable comeback that ultimately fell short.
And while Storm coach Craig Bellamy had his trademark moments of frustration throughout the contest, he admits Sunday's triumph was something special.
"It was a strange feeling all week, it’s been a strange feeling all year," Bellamy says.
"But from what our guys have been through and what our families have been through, I would put it at the top of the Grand Final wins that we’ve had.
"There's been some situations and circumstances where I thought the guys would want to pack up and go home."
Someone who couldn't wait to get the party started was Kiwi Brandon Smith.
"I just can't wait to get on the piss with all the boys," Smith said afterwards.
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