AAP Rugby

Bellamy signs new Storm NRL coaching deal

By AAP Newswire

Melbourne have got their man with coach Craig Bellamy signing a new deal likely to see him finish his NRL coaching career with them.

Bellamy knocked back a mega offer from Brisbane to sign a three-year contract extension reportedly worth around $4 million dollars.

The Broncos saw him as the perfect candidate to replace legendary coach Wayne Bennett, despite him still having another year to run on his contract.

AAP understands Brisbane have been told of his decision but the appointment still has to be ratified by Melbourne's board before they can officially announce it.

They hope to do so before the Storm's NRL game on Sunday in Newcastle.

Bellamy's decision is a huge coup for the Storm with veterans Cameron Smith and Billy Slater also off-contract.

The pair share a birthday and turn 35 on Monday and while Smith is likely to play on to reach an unparalleled 400 games, Slater is tipped to retire at the end of the season.

Losing Bellamy as well as either of those players, or even both, would have been a worst case scenario for the Storm.

With family in Queensland and a holiday home on Gold Coast, Bellamy strongly considered the move north to the Queensland powerhouse.

He spent five years at the club as an assistant to Bellamy before joining the Storm in 2003.

It emerged last month Broncos officials had secretly met Bellamy in Melbourne about the possibility of him replacing Bennett as early as next season and offered him a four-year contract.

The 58-year-old has guided the Storm to seven grand finals since taking charge in 2003, winning four including last year's emphatic defeat of North Queensland.

He has coached Melbourne in 408 NRL games, highlighted by premierships in 2012 and 2017. Two earlier grand-final wins were stripped for salary-cap cheating.

While he'd come close to retiring before his 2016 deal, it's believed he's reinvigorated by the success of the young talent in his line-up including Cameron Munster, Brodie Croft, Brandon Smith, Curtis Scott and Jahrome Hughes.