But thoughts quickly turned to Smith’s 400th – a game Bellamy views, finals excluded, is the biggest in the club’s history.
“I don’t think anyone can pump his tires up any more than they are already pumped up,” Bellamy said about his captain.
“But other than finals games I don’t know if this club will ever have a more important game.
“It’s a huge honour for Cameron and a huge honour for our club. Cameron is going to be the first guy to ever do this and it will be a long time before someone else does it.
“Hopefully we can play to honour him and his achievements in the game.
“We have to make sure we prepare well if we want to play well next week.”
The Storm lost Albert Vete in the second half on Thursday night after he dislocated his shoulder. The forward is expected to miss some time but the injury was still being assessed on Friday.
Five-eighth Billy Walters and forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui both made their debuts while Solomone Kata was replaced in the game-day side by Marion Seve after he recovered from a shoulder problem.
While the AFL has had a host of players pass 300 games, especially in recent generations, the NRL has only had 36, with 30 of those taking place in the 2000s.
Historically the physical nature of the game has taken players down before they reached the milestone, or they have headed to the English Super League in their twilight years.
And while Bellamy coached his 300th NRL win this week, the veteran coach wants the focus on Smith.
“Some people ask me what makes a good coach – having good players really helps,” Bellamy said with a smile.
“I’ve been blessed to coach the players we have had and the coaches we have had here.
“For next week it’s an important milestone for Cameron and what he’s done for the game.
“We all should salute him next week, it’s one hell of a milestone.”
The Storm play the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park next Saturday at 7.35pm.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.