The 21st season of the Melbourne Storm has an unlikely hero to thank Craig Bellamy for persuading him to continue as head coach.
Storm announced Wednesday that Bellamy will be in the 2023 campaign role.
“I think I was actually a bit cornered, I actually chatted a bit with Joey Johns,” Bellamy told 9News.
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“Andrew called me and he made a few points and they seemed a bit understandable to me.
“So maybe the way I decided to go rocked me.”
Three-time Premiership-winning coach Johns will not disclose what he said, but it is understood to be related to his own decision to retire from the game.
Sources close to the situation have revealed that Johns’ message to Bellamy was’ go one more year if you’re not sure ‘.
Johns told Bellamy that if retirement was the right call, he knew for sure and would not be torn.
“It just hit something in my head with the decision. I appreciate him ringing now, and as I say, I think that’s what turned me on.”
Bellamy seriously gained weight to move away from full-time coaching.
Even the lure of a new challenge in a new face-off squad by subtracting big names like Felice Cowfussi, Brandon Smith, and Jesse and Kenny Bromwich the following year was not tempting for the 62-year-old.
“If I’m just going to base my decision, I’m going,” Bellamy said.
The deal is only a 12-month extension, and Bellamy is not deciding which way to go by the end of 2023. He has always said that he will continue to play some part-time roles.
The next Melbourne coach has huge shoes to fill … Bellamy has guided Storm to five Grand Finals in the last 10 seasons, including three Premierships.
But with Billy Slater stepping down as senior coach of the Queensland State of Origin, many are urging Melbourne to come up with a legacy plan around their former fullback.
The current Storm coach admits “it will be like a fairy tale I think”.
“I would say one thing about Bill, if he accepts it, the only thing he can do is go through the boots.
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“His passion will be one of his strengths. He obviously has a good sense of humor and he communicates well.
“There are a lot of qualities in him, I think, to make the job a success. But whether he wants to do it or not, only he can make that decision at the right time.”
What will be the impact of Bellamy’s decision on another catch on Cameron Munster’s future? With the release of Playmaker’s contract at the end of 2023, Munster may be forced to accept one of the many lucrative offers from many clubs chasing him, if he thinks Bellamy will end next year.
“I’ve talked to him a few times and told him how much the club is interested in keeping him in the long run,” Bellamy said.
“He made his own decision. When people wanted to go, we didn’t really hold it against them.”
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