TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 25: Storm coach Craig Bellamy looks on before the start of the round 12 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at 1300SMILES Stadium on May 25, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Storm prop Christian Welch has explained that Craig Bellamy's hands-off approach during pre-season programs has played a large role in keeping the coach and franchise "fresh".

Having sat in the Storm's hot seat since 2003, Bellamy has never lost a Round 1 match-up. And while unparalleled in this department, Welch held that view that it was a simple pivot from the master coach that allowed for routine early-season success.

“It’s interesting, in the pre-season he doesn’t really run any of the training,” Welch stated on SEN. 

“He’s a bit of an observer, he doesn’t do much man-management at all, he really delegates to his assistants.

“I think that keeps him fresh when he hits the season. Look, he’s hard when he needs to be."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Coach Craig Bellamy looks on during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Gosch's Paddock on September 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Although Welch held the view that Bellamy was willing to place more onto the shoulders of Stephen Kearney, Marc Brentnall and Ryan Hinchcliffe during summers on the track, the man known as 'Bellyache' could still fire up when need be.

“He can be hard when he needs to be because of his track record of success and I think there’s a real trust in the playing group with Craig as our leader and our coaching staff that they’re preparing us as best they can," Welch continued.

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“Even with our performance staff, we know they’re tough in the pre-season but we know it’s preparing us physically so nothing surprises us Round 1 and onwards.

“He’s a tough operator, but he rewards good things as well. He’s not that bloke that’s consistently negative.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy of the Storm hold up the NRL premiership trophy during the Melbourne Storm NRL Grand Final celebrations at Gosch's Paddock on October 2, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

But with his son Aaron beside him at the club in a developmental role and grandkids away from the playing field, Welch also explained that the 62-year-old's frightening exterior was becoming a bit of a front.

“I think he’s softened up a bit, the big fella,” Welch added.

“I think when I first arrived he was pretty brutal, and probably before I got there he was brutal with the players.

“But, he really cares about his players, he takes an interest in them.

“His son is on the staff and he has his grandkids now, I think he really understands the life away from football and the Storm.

“His priority is family and his loved ones, they come first always, that comes before football.

“Then it’s football, and then there’s a clear distance for third to anything else in life.”

Bellamy's 20th premiership season at the helm in the southern capital is set to commence on March 12 against the Wests Tigers at CommBank Stadium.

The Storm are also set to face Newcastle in their final trial contest on Sunday evening at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.