The World Club Challenge could turn into an audition for Wigan’s Michael Maguire after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy appeared to rule out joining St George Illawarra next season, insisting he was committed to the Storm for the “long haul”.
With Wayne Bennett expected to return to Brisbane in 2012, Bellamy has emerged as the priority target to replace the seven-time premiership winner at the Dragons. It is understood St George Illawarra officials have already spoken to members of the Bellamy camp to gauge his interest in joining the club.
However, Bellamy – who is contracted to Melbourne until the end of 2013 – yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the Storm on Melbourne radio. That would appear to end the chase, although Dragons officials are likely to continue the pursuit when they return to Australia.
Provided Bellamy remains in Melbourne, Maguire shapes as the leading contender given his status as one of the emerging stars of the coaching ranks. It is understood Dragons officials could even hold talks with Maguire while they are in England for the WCC.
The other coach linked with the Dragons job is Daniel Anderson. Anderson, who parted ways with Parramatta at the end of last season after guiding the club to a grand final in 2009, is expected to be interviewed by St George Illawarra officials on their return to Sydney.
Arguably no coach on the market is as well-credentialled as Anderson, who enjoyed unprecedented success with English club St Helens after guiding the Warriors to an NRL grand final in 2002.