Master tactician, reassuring phone caller, half-time blaster, wedding guest - Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has been many things to his players but they all agree he's the key to the Storm's consistent success.

Minor premiers Melbourne are contesting their 14th NRL finals campaign in the 15 years Bellamy has been at the club - the only exception being the 2010 season when they were stripped of competition points for salary cap cheating.

While many credit superstars Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater as the backbone of that unparalleled run, Storm players say it couldn't have happened without Bellamy.

In Friday night's preliminary final against Brisbane, Bellamy will coach his 393rd NRL game, drawing level with the great Jack Gibson at seventh on the all- time list.

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He has the best strike-rate of the current crop of NRL coaches, with 267 wins at 67.6 per cent, with the Roosters' Trent Robinson next best at 62.3 per cent from 130 games.

To his players, however, there are many, often more personal, reasons why they rate him the best.

"He's a huge part of this club - I don't know if the club would be where it is without him," says forward Tim Glasby.

"He puts in so much work and time and the players all respect him and love being coached by him.

"He drives a hard work ethic here and it's a tough gig sometimes but you do what he tells you because you know it's best for the team."

Glasby played under-20s for Penrith but failed to win an NRL contract and returned home in 2010 to play three seasons in the Queensland Cup.

Seven years later he is a Queensland State of Origin player.

"I probably owe everything to Craig as he's the one who gave me my debut," the 28-year-old said.

"He's given me a lot of pointers and critique and he's done a lot for my game over the years and is certainly a big part of my career."

Fellow prop Jesse Bromwich said that Bellamy's support when he was involved in a drugs scandal while on Test duty in May helped him through a tough time in which he lost the Kiwis captaincy and was banished for the World Cup.

"He'd call me and make sure I was alright and pull me into his office and he'd ring my partner to make sure she was fine," Bromwich said.

"It goes to show what type of fella he is and I just feel very lucky to be a part of this club and he's a big part of that."

Centre Will Chambers joined the Storm in 2007 but switched to rugby union in 2010 for two years. Even then, Bellamy didn't turn his back on the player.

"I still spoke to Craig at different times when I struggled playing rugby union," said Chambers, who had Bellamy as a guest at his 2015 wedding.

"He's been a part of my life for a long time on and off the field and I thank him for everything that's come out of my footy career because he's taken me to levels I never thought I could get to."

Chambers, who moved from the Northern Territory to Brisbane as a teenager before Melbourne, likened Bellamy to a father figure.

"He pushes you and drives you to be a better person and a better footballer but being a better person is the most important thing to him and that's the special thing about him and what he does," he said.

The players say Bellamy, who is signed for 2018, continues to be at the top of his game because of a never-ending thirst for knowledge and improvement.

At the end of each season he heads overseas to successful sporting organisations such as the All Blacks and top NFL and NBA teams to try to gain a winning edge.

"The best thing about his coaching style is that he's not a closed book," Bromwich said.

"The leadership group are constantly throwing new ideas at him and he's open to trying new things and that's why he's always been so successful.

"He's open to changing things although the main thing is that he just works so hard."

- AAP