Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has admitted that while he has previously lied about his impending retirement a number of times, the date of his final NRL game in charge was drawing closer.
In a wide-ranging interview with NewsCorp, Bellamy admitted “I’ve told too many lies in the last few years about my retirement."
He was referring especially to a 2008 interview where Bellamy said he would likely leave the Storm at the end of his then-current contract in 2013 – yet over a decade later he still occupies the top job at the club.
Now Bellamy in on another five-year deal, but one that allows him to assess his own needs and wants on a year-to-year basis – but he’s already thinking about the immediate future.
“I’m thinking next year will probably be it for me,” Bellamy said.
“The club has been good to me, saying we’ll take it one year at a time, as long as I make a call early enough to give them time to find a new coach.”
Bellamy also revealed he has continued to knock back efforts from the Broncos to secure his services throughout his time at Melbourne – although he has come close to making the switch in the past.
“I was genuine about coming,” Bellamy said.
“The first time was in 2008. I was very close when Wayne (Bennett) left, but we just couldn’t get a deal done."
Brisbane’s next offer, following the departure of Anthony Seibold in 2020, showed how desperate the Broncos were, offering a 10-year deal and post-coaching job security at the club.
“I dead-set thought about it,” Bellamy admitted.
“But I felt I owed the Storm for giving me an opportunity as head coach."
Bellamy threw his support behind Kevin Walters to retain the position, praising the work of his former Canberra teammate.
“To be honest, the Broncos don’t need me anyway. I hope Kevvie (Walters) goes on and becomes long-term coach. When you look at where they were last year to this year, it’s a massive change.”
“One year at a time” is probably not going to be helpful to the Storm. Twelve months notice does not allow time to find a coach, prize him out of his current commitment, get him to Melbourne and get him working with Bellamy. It limits them to someone already working for the Storm, if they want continuity.
Contrast that with Souths getting in Jason Demetriou as the anointed “Head Coach In-Waiting” and working with Wayne for a couple of years to provide a seamless transition.
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