Most importantly, the Storm will be able to play at home at AAMI Park, starting with their first game back against the Raiders.
“The teams we are playing twice are pretty tough teams including the two grand finalists from last year plus Manly and Newcastle,” Bellamy said.
“We were fortunate we are allowed to play games at AAMI Park and that will reduce our travel schedule from what it could have been if we had to play some extra games in Sydney for the first nine weeks.
“If that did happen then we would just batten down the hatches but it would have been pretty tough to do eight or nine weeks in a row of jumping on a plane each week.”
Melbourne face two five-day turnarounds and seven six-day turnarounds, both above the league average but they also have 10 seven-day turnarounds and won’t lose players to State of Origin as the competition has been moved to November, after the grand final, in the hope it can be played in front of crowds.
The Storm will feature on Channel Nine or GEM in 12 games, which is second-most in the NRL behind the Broncos on 15 games, while the team will have five home games in seven weeks from round seven to round 13.
The Storm, who won their opening two games, have been training well. Bellamy was happy with the conditioning of his players after their five-week stint away from the club due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“I’m very happy with how they came back,” Bellamy said.
“There were a couple of guys that weren’t where we wanted them to be but they weren’t far off it.”
Bellamy is hopeful he will have a full list to pick from next week, although he admits a couple of players have had soft-tissue worries due to training picking up in intensity.
“Hopefully we haven’t done too much damage and we will be OK for round three,” Bellamy said.
“We have a couple of guys not training with us, they are in rehab but we are hopeful we will have a full squad by next week to pick from.”
The Storm play Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park behind closed doors next Saturday at 7.35pm.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.