Bellamy backs Earl for NRL finals return

Sandor Earl hasn’t played an NRL game in over five years yet Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says he’d have no hesitation in playing him through the Storm’s finals campaign.

The 28-year-old has been named amongst the Melbourne reserves for their qualifying final against Souths on Friday night.

His last NRL game was in August 2013 for Canberra, before being stood down and then banned for four years for using and trafficking performance-enhancing drugs.

The winger was signed by Melbourne at the end of that suspension only to suffer an ACL injury last November which cast doubt on whether he would ever add to his 48 NRL games.

But Bellamy has always been a big fan and said he’d like to see Earl get an opportunity.

Bellamy said Earl was on target to play midway through the year but suffered injury to his other knee before a toe problem saw him sidelined again.

“It would be a wonderful story to see him play first grade again,” Bellamy said.

“He’s been a great addition to the squad this year – he’s a terrific guy and he’s certainly worked hard to get back in after four years.

“It’s a real long time not to be playing at the top level but his attitude’s been great and he’s been a real plus for our squad.”

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