Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy expects breakout star Suliasi Vunivalu to take Sunday's NRL Grand Final in his stride after a try-laden debut season.
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy expects breakout star Suliasi Vunivalu to take Sunday's NRL Grand Final in his stride after a try-laden debut premier-grade season.
The 20-year-old has scored 23 tries in 20 games this term, a figure bettered by no-one in the league, as minor premiers Melbourne head to ANZ Stadium to take on Cronulla Sharks, who enjoyed a 16-game unbeaten run in the regular season.
Bellamy has no hesitation at throwing the youngster in at the deep end once again on Sunday, hailing his natural talent and the willingness to improve.
"It's funny how his career's gone," Bellamy told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. "I don't know if you'd call it a career!
"We didn't really see him playing first grade this year but we had a few injury concerns in our outside backs and, at one stage there, he was probably the last winger standing, so we threw him in and he's been outstanding.
"For a guy that's only played 40, 45 games of rugby league, he's picked things up really quickly and he's obviously a smart kid and a really smart footy player.
"The other thing I like about him is he's really a humble down to earth, really respectful kid. [He's] really respectful about his club and team-mates, really respectful of the game as a whole.
"He's very level headed, very balanced and he's a wonderful student of the game and a great athlete as well.
"It's a huge thing for him to play on Sunday with his path into this team and into this game, but he doesn't seem to get flustered by too much so I guess he's really looking forward to Sunday.
"He's handled everything else really well, a couple of his best games have probably been in the last two or three weeks so they've been pretty big games.
"I don't think he's going to have too many problems going out there and doing his job well on Sunday."