Smith dismisses coach Bellamy's concerns about the Storm
MELBOURNE'S coach Craig Bellamy believes his team is playing without a hunger and love of the game.
And the Storm has moved out of favour with many bookies, moving to second on the ladder, as well as premiership betting markets.
But team captain Cameron Smith couldn't care a less.
He issued a strong rebuttal yesterday to the doubts that have arisen over his side's ability to defend its title, following Sunday night's 12-10 loss to the 12th placed Panthers.
"The Rabbitohs have lost one game this year, and the only team to defeat them was us, so it's (Melbourne's record) pretty good," Smith said.
"I don't think it's time to sit down and have crisis meetings."
The Storm will take on arch rival Manly on Monday night at AAMI Park and will need all the motivation it can get to snap a two-game losing streak.
But Smith said his side is still the envy of most other clubs.
"The reality is we're seven and two, which is a pretty good record," he said
"Ask a lot of teams down the bottom of the ladder ... they'd swap for our position in a heartbeat."
Meanwhile, Manly co-captain Jason King (shoulder) faces surgery that could rule him out for the rest of the season.
Just a few weeks after returning from a previous long-term shoulder injury, King suffered an injury to his other one against the Rabbitohs in round seven.
Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey did not speculate on whether his co-skipper would return for the finals.
"We don't know. We'll wait until Friday to determine the extent of the damage," he said.
King returned in round four against the Tigers, after a long recovery from pre-season surgery.