Hawks coach Brian Goorjian has revealed how premiership-winning Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has inspired his side’s history-making start to the NBL season.
Goorjian has only met Bellamy once – during his coaching days in Melbourne with the South Dragons in 2008 and 2009 – but he has long admired the accomplished rugby league mentor from afar.
This respect went to another level last season when the NBL’s most successful coach watched the man nicknamed “Bellyache” steer the Storm to the NRL premiership after the side spent most of the season away from home on the Sunshine Coast.
Goorjian studied Bellamy’s approach to adversity and challenges and has implemented similar principals to help his new-look Hawks deal with living and playing on the road in Queensland through a global pandemic.
Emulating Bellamy’s Melbourne’s mentality is certainly working, with the Hawks winning their opening two games – the franchise’s best start to an NBL season.
“Craig Bellamy is one of the men that I admire most in sport from what he has done at the Storm,” Goorjian said.
“I don’t know him personally, but I’ve certainly followed the Storm and Bellamy because of how they operate and the consistency of winning.
“I’ve listened, observed and tried to learn because I think Craig is special, and I think the Storm’s program is special.
“I just like what they do and their whole set-up of building a winning program.
“Thankfully, the sports entertainment is visual – you don’t have to be Einstein to realise what the Storm do is special.”
Brian Goorjian is using lessons from premiership-winning Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy to inspire his Hawks in the NBL this season. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Goorjian’s coaching record speaks for itself as a six-time NBL championship winner, while he has enjoyed success on the international stage in China and with the Australian national team.
For all his accomplishments, the veteran mentor is continually learning about the art of coaching.
It’s why Goorjian has long lent on the advice of coaches in rival sports in his pursuit for perfection.
“I was told early that if you want to be good in coaching, it doesn’t matter what sport but learn from the best,” he said.
“I’ve always had good relationships with AFL coaches during my time in Melbourne.
“I used to go to practices and just learn. It really helped me with the culture, the conditioning and there are a lot of things that overlap.”
Goorjian says his lessons as a coach have helped him navigate playing and living away from home through the coronavirus pandemic.
He concedes it has been challenging, especially having to quarantine for three days in the lead-up to games, but the team has used the unprecedented circumstances to become closer.
“I learnt long ago that you can swing it one way or another in terms of making it a positive or a negative,” he said.
“And I think we’ve done a good job of that as we push through being on the road together in a new team that doesn’t know each other that well yet.
Justinian Jessup has helped the Hawks start the NBL season unbeaten. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“But we are eating together, we are communicating together and getting tighter as a group.
“I’ve had the opportunity to address a lot of things more quickly than if we were in a normal environment.”
The Hawks’ resilient and close-knit connections were on full display in the team’s big win over Cairns on Monday night minus stars like Cam Bairstow and Deng Adel.
Goorjian credits the impressive win over the Taipans to instilling a belief in his players.
“One of the main messages was looking at the players and telling them, ‘Every one of you can play, well tonight is the night’,” he said.
“You go right down the bench – they are not established in the league yet, but within our group we know they can play, and we believe in them.
“The ones that suit up are the ones who matter on the night, and that is something that I believe in as a coach.”
Goorjian’s Hawks will look to continue their winning ways when they take on Brisbane on Thursday night from 7.30pm.
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