MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Storm coach Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith of the Storm look on after the round 26 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on September 2, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Melbourne Storm football boss Frank Ponissi has addressed the futures of Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith.

The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the Cronulla Sharks have been in talks with Bellamy for over six months about a director of coaching role from 2022 onwards.

The Sharks took to social media to confirm they have been in discussions with Belllamy.

Speaking on SEN radio, Ponissi was confident that Bellamy would remain at the Storm.

“I think there’s a reality that they (Cronulla) are definitely keen on him,” Ponissi said on SEN Afternoons.

“I think that’s reality, but with Craig accepting that offer I’m not really sure.

“Matt Tripp and the owners have been liaising with Craig and they’ve always been confident that he will remain.”

Despite Bellamy saying that 2021 would be his final year of head coaching, Ponissi remains hopeful that he could yet change his mind and remain in the role for an extra 12 months.

“We haven’t given up hope that he may even extend being a head coach for the next 12 months,” he added.

“He keeps saying he’s not, but there’s a slight chance of him coaching.

“Whilst we haven’t got his signature on a contract he’s open to all other offers and all other interest.

“The time will come, but with Craig I don’t think you’re going to see that for too much longer, I think you’ll see a decision in certainly the next few weeks.”

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)

Bellamy has coached 465 NRL games for the Storm since taking over the reigns in 2003 and has led the club to three premierships.

Meanwhile, Ponissi also doubled down on previous comments he has made about Smith, saying the club is currently planning its season without the legendary hooker.

The veteran has kept the NRL world in the dark – the Storm included – on wether he will retire or extend his storied career into a 19th season, while links have also been made to the Gold Coast Titans.

The 430-gamer originally declared he would decide his future by Christmas, but is still yet to make a call just a month out from the NRL season.

While the Storm are planning to be without Smith, they are also prepared for his decision to go the other way.

“At the moment, we're planning life without Cameron,” he added.

“But, if that were to change late, we'd also be ready for that as well.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Cameron Smith of the Storm leads his team onto the field during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Smith has played 430 NRL games all for Melbourne since making his first-grade debut in 2002 and just won his third premiership with the club.

He turns 38 later this year.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I remembered when Blythy posted a pic of Cam Smith in a Titans jersey start of last season and I wrote I got a laugh out of it, now it almost seems it could happen. Good prediction

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