By GEOFF ROUNDS
MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy has thrown fuel on the fire over the Steve Turner issue yesterday declaring he was "sick and tired of all the talk and whinging" about the recruitment saga.
Melbourne will do battle with NRL newcomers Gold Coast Titans in a trial match at Coffs Harbour tomorrow night in a clash that threatens to erupt.
Some Titans players have vowed to target Turner after he reneged on a deal to join the Gold Coast club to stay in Melbourne.
"Frankly, I'm sick to death of the whole thing," Bellamy said yesterday from the Storm's training base in Coffs Harbour.
"It's just been ongoing and whinging and crap that has been thrown around from up that way and we as a club are over it. Steve's our player and the sooner some people come to terms with that the better.
"We haven't mentioned it at all but I've had a lot of comment from people in and around the Titans."
Bellamy has named Turner for the showdown against an inexperienced Gold Coast Titans outfit.
Bellamy said he didn't know if the renegade winger would be singled out for punishment but admitted having heard reports the Titans would be aggressive.
"I'm not sure what, if anything, will happen but I'm ready for the match, Steve's ready to play and the players can't wait either," Bellamy said.
"It should be a great game."
Titans coach John Cartwright yesterday downplayed the Turner issue, preferring instead to focus on the fledgling club's first serious hitout.
"At the moment I'm feeling a little bit nervous, even apprehensive I guess, but I am looking forward to it," Cartwright said.
"It's one of those things I guess that no one knows how we'll gel because we've never played together as a group before."
Titans players had a rest day yesterday and will travel to Coffs Harbour this morning before a late training run.
"It's very hard to stop them at the moment, they're sick of bashing each other," Cartwright said.
Cartwright is determined to get maximum benefit from the trial with a host of fringe players getting their chance to push for a place in the starting side.
Former Kangaroos forward Brad Meyers, Great Britain international Richie Mathers and former Queensland State of Origin winger Chris Walker have been named in a 28-man squad that also includes former Tweed Heads Seagulls players Nat Barnes and Andrew Maroney.
"There's nothing really riding on the game or the outcome but we need to blood some of the young blokes we've got here to see how they go against quality opposition," Cartwright said.
"I'd much rather know now how players are going to be for the rest of the season than trying just to rely on the more experienced players in the club."