Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns opened his phone call with Craig Bellamy who persuaded the Melbourne coach to commit to another season.
Johns told Bellamy that he would be “crazy to retire”, and that it would be “terribly sad” to hang up the clipboard before giving advice when he still had so much to contribute.
Bellamy was already under contract with Storm until the end of 2026 but, as of Wednesday, no one knew if the three-time Premiership-winning mentor would continue as coach after this season.
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Bellamy revealed at a press conference that a call from Johns persuaded him.
“I called him a few months ago and told him he was going crazy to retire. It was a private conversation (so) I didn’t really want to go into what I said, but it was, ‘I think your X, Y. And should continue because of Z ‘, says Johns at Wide World of Sports Immortal behavior.
“On all accounts he said he was going to finish. He’s a very good coach (to finish this year), he’s one of the best-three coaches we’ve seen arguing, if not the last 20-30 years, I think they’re in Melbourne. He will be No. 1 in the way he has rediscovered himself.
“It will be an absurdity – I will not call it a tragedy. But it will be very sad when he has a lot to give and he retires. Can you imagine him retiring and watching the Melbourne game and not contributing?”
“So, I think that’s great news (that he’s committed to one more year).”
Johns’ 15-year colorful career came to an end when he retired in 2007 due to a swollen disc around his neck.
“When I was coming to the end I got some advice that I took (to Bellamy) and it definitely hit a jack,” Johns said.
Legendary Knights Halfback said he spoke regularly with Bellamy, Roosters coach Trent Robinson and former Bulldogs mentor Trent Barrett.
“I probably talk to Craig once or twice a year. I just thought it was the right time to call him, just to have a different perspective and someone outside to give him my perspective,” Johns said.
“So, I’m glad it all worked out.”
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Since coming to the club before the 2003 season, Bellamy has led the storm in just over 500 games.
The 2010 season, when Melbourne was snatched from the competition for pay-cap violations, was the only time the club had not played final football under Bellamy.
Storm is second on the stairs and will face third-placed Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday.
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