Craig Bellamy

It is another NRL saga that is over, as the Melbourne Storm and Craig Bellamy come to terms on his coaching contract, ending speculation of a move elsewhere – with the Storm coach agreeing to a deal until the end of 2016.

Bellamy, who was well aware of the speculation surrounding his future, just could not see himself leaving the club, describing himself as a fan just like everyone else of the club.

“The main reason is I feel like a fan. This is my club,” said Bellamy.

“The emotional attachment with the players is strong. Some have been here 6, 7 & 8 years, and I enjoy working with the players here.

“I found that attachment too hard to break. It was an important contract for me and I had to make sure I made the right decision.”

With all the speculation adding up and causing a lot of debate in rugby league circles, Bellamy just could not bring himself to cut ties with the club.

“They were quite attractive offers from some other clubs, but it was too hard to cut the rope,” said Bellamy.

With a four-year contract now done and dusted, Bellamy is just looking forward to focusing on his contract ahead, as well as the games coming up – specifically the World Club Challenge against Leeds, as he looks forward to working with the current squad.

“We’ve got a reasonable squad but we have young guys coming through from our U20’s. I’m more concerned about the World Club Challenge,” Bellamy said.

The decision was not easy for Bellamy, with the Melbourne coach only deciding yesterday that he was going to stay on – though he admits that it was the distraction the speculation was causing the club, that made him announce it earlier than expected.

“It was an ongoing process for a little while, probably the last 8-10 days it intensified. It was time to make a decision,” said Bellamy.

“I was always hoping to have it settled not only for myself, but the club as well. It’s been a bit of a distraction to me.

“Because it’s dragged on so long, I suppose it was starting to be a bit of a distraction for me.

“I made sure I played my role in helping the team as much as I can. I got the opinion of others and what they thought of situation.”

Ultimately, it was Bellamy’s love for the club that saw him stay and despite winning the premiership last season, he believes that there are still challenges in front of him to achieve.

“I love this club and as I said to the players this morning, it’s not that I love the colour purple, I love the people,” said Bellamy.

“I’m still enjoying what I’m doing. I know a lot of people thought it would have been a challenge to go somewhere else.

“It’s a challenge every day. I’ve been here 10 years & that’s a long time, but there’s still plenty of challenges here.

“I still want to make sure that this team is really competitive. Hopefully I can play my part in that.”

Equally pleased to see the speculation cease, was Melbourne Storm CEO Ron Gauci, who sees Bellamy as an influential figure in rugby league for the Storm, the NRL and Victoria in general.

“Craig has proven himself to be one of the elite coaches in Australian sport and we believe this new contract reflects his true value and his status in the sporting landscape,“ Gauci said.

“We have always been respectful of Craig’s wishes to take the time to review his options.

“This re-signing is also an endorsement of Craig’s confidence in the club’s strategy, our direction and the team’s prospects for the future.

“Craig’s signature is not only good for Melbourne Storm, but also for rugby league in Victoria, he is a tremendous ambassador for our club and the code.”

By ricky

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