Tough love: Former Storm larrikin’s Munster advice
FORMER Storm player Brett Finch has rubbished suggestions the club should let Cameron Munster go, declaring Melbourne is the best place for the 23-year-old right now.
Munster has made headlines in the past fortnight after news of an altercation with Australian teammate Ben Hunt during the World Cup was broken by Fox Sports' chief NRL reporter James Hooper.
A week later NRL.com reported Melbourne was considering releasing the talented utility from his contract. The club has since strongly denied that claim.
But there's been plenty made of Munster's attitude and general personality since the original Fox Sports story emerged.
Finch can sympathise with the young Storm star. And he wants Munster to know that there's no club in the NRL better to help him than the one coached by Craig Bellamy and captained by Cameron Smith.
"I think he's in the best club you can be, and if anything needs to change or something needs to be done he's in the best possible hands with the leadership group and Craig Bellamy," Finch told foxsports.com.au.
"If you get a kick up the bum it's because you deserve it. It's tough but fair.
"They work really hard down there and if you're not pulling your weight ... the strength of their leadership group, a lot of the time Craig Bellamy doesn't have to discipline a player.
"The players do it themselves, the leadership is so strong.
"In my time down there we had Cameron and Cooper (Cronk) and Billy (Slater) ... there's guys who have been part of the squad for a long time. If you're someone who needs a bit of a kick up the bum usually the players address it before it even gets to the coach, they nip things in the bud pretty well.
"That's why they never seem to have major dramas down there, because they are tough on each other, they are accountable to each other and they've got a standard they expect people to stick to it."
Munster was called home from Kangaroos camp during the World Cup where he fronted Bellamy and was made to explain his actions.
It's understood Bellamy has given Munster a rocket or two in the past, and the respected mentor admitted last week the young gun may have a problem with alcohol.
Finch himself has struggled with drink and drugs, and opened up to the Daily Telegraph last month about his time in a Thailand rehab clinic and a stint as a council worker.
But on the guest list at his wedding in January was none other than Bellamy, the man Finch describes as a "father figure" and who took him under his wing all those years ago.
"He's the best coach I've ever had and someone I've got the utmost respect for. He's a mentor in a lot of ways, someone I hold in the highest regard. He's got an amazing work ethic," Finch said.
"Sometimes he needs to give you a kick up the bum, and other times he's there as sort of a father figure.
"He's the best coach I've ever dealt with, that's for sure."
Finch was somewhat of a journeyman in his 270 games in the NRL, jumping from Canberra, to the Roosters, to Parramatta, and finishing at Melbourne before heading overseas.
But he doesn't hesitate in saying his three seasons with the Storm were the highlight of his career.
And that's how he knows there's no better place for Munster to be right now.