Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is widely regarded as the best in the business â€“ and today it became official.
Bellamy was today named International Coach of the Year for 2009 after a stunning season saw him steer the Storm to its third NRL premiership in 12 years.
Remarkably, Bellamy, also the New South Wales State of Origin coach, edged out one of his assistants at the Storm, New Zealand head coach Stephen Kearney, as well as Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore, in claiming the award presented at the Rugby League International Federation gala dinner in Leeds today (Australian time).
There was a distinct Storm flavour at the dinner that was held ahead of this weekendâ€™s final of the Four-Nations Tournament between Australia and England.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith was named at hooker and Greg Inglis at centre in the International Team of the Year.
Inglis and Storm fullback Billy Slater were included on a short-list of three players for the Player of the Year award that was taken out by Parramattaâ€™s Jarryd Hayne.
â€œItâ€™s a nice reward for our team,â€ said Bellamy, currently in Europe as part of a fact-finding trip.
â€œBilly, Greg and Cameron deserved to be recognized, particularly with the seasons they had.
â€œWeâ€™ll be doing all we can in the pre-season to ensure we continue that next year.â€
Stormâ€™s non grand final players begin pre-season training on Monday. The remainder of the grand final squad â€“ excluding the Stormâ€™s Four Nations representatives â€“ will resume on November 30.