Bellamy opens up on Storm future, Broncos role
Craig Bellamy has revealed he is open to a coaching director's role at the Broncos, admitting the stress of being in the frontline is why he will retire as head coach at the end of next season.
Bellamy has given his most candid insight into why he is ready to relinquish the Storm top job after almost two decades putting his heart and soul into making Melbourne an NRL superpower.
Bellamy has previously flirted with the prospect of retiring from coaching, but this time he is adamant. As he prepares to celebrate his 62nd birthday next Saturday, Bellamy says he will not be a head coach in 2022.
That sentiment has opened the door for the Broncos, who are going for the jugular, having held talks with Bellamy to be Brisbane's culture-and-performance chief from 2022.
Ahead of Melbourne's final-round clash with the Dragons on Sunday in Sydney, Bellamy said his renowned passion and workaholic nature has pushed him to breaking point.
"I think that is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to retiring," he said.
"That passion wears me out at times."
Asked if he would retire as Storm coach next year, Bellamy said: "Yes, I think so.
"We are in the stage of the season where you get a bit frazzled and it's been a long, hard year.
"If you ask me six weeks after I finish (this season), I might have a different answer, but I'm thinking that this (the end of his current Storm contract) will be my tenure as a head coach, without a doubt.
"I'm pretty sure that at this time next year I will be close to finishing."
Bellamy has steered the Storm to seven grand finals and four premierships (two of which were stripped for salary-cap rorts) on the back of his relentless quest for perfection.
But after almost 20 years at the coalface, Bellamy has no desire to emulate his former Broncos mentor Wayne Bennett by coaching into his 70s.
"I have still got my role to play in the week, I'm not just sitting back watching everybody else do their job," he said.
"I have a big role and I want to do it the best I can.
"That takes a lot of time in front of the computer and meeting up with players. We've had some great players here, that's been a great help and I have had a lot of help in the footy department.
"It's been a team effort. Frank (Ponissi, Storm football chief) has been wonderful and our assistant coaches over the last few years, we've had the same crew. They are young guys and they are passionate about the job and helping the team and time doesn't get in the road for them.
"They just do their jobs and for me I've been really fortunate to have a lot of good people.
"Coaching now is virtually seven days a week so I don't want to be doing that. I'm too old for that.
"There are some parts of the job that are harder to do than before, so I think that's a little sign perhaps, I don't know.
"I've had a fair run, I'm 62 in a couple of weeks so it's nearly time."
Bellamy is reluctant to talk about the Broncos to avoid derailing the Storm's quest for another premiership. But with Bellamy eyeing a move to Queensland for family reasons in 2022, he is open to a less pressurised role at the Broncos.
Bellamy has knocked back the Broncos three times but he hasn't ruled out a return to Red Hill if Kevin Walters is appointed head coach.
"I'd never say never about anything to be quite honest," he said.
"I have knocked back a role at the Broncos on a couple of occasions, but in those separate times I felt it was the best thing for me and for the Melbourne Storm.
"But I'd never say never to anywhere if anyone is interested.
"It would have to be a role that is not as full-on as a head-coaching role.
"Coaching directors have a wide range of responsibilities or job description. There are things that I am really interested in doing, there are some other things I probably wouldn't be interested in doing, but that (coaching director) is the sort of role I would like to go in.
"I'd like to be able to do something part-time but I don't want to do it if the club isn't getting value out of it and they don't want to employ anyone if they aren't getting value out of it.
"What the role would be we have to work it out, but hopefully I can pick up something like that somewhere.
"Who knows? At the end of the day, I am concerned about this year and finishing off this season as well as we can."
Bellamy does not believe his own plans to potentially quit the Storm will have repercussions for his off-contract skipper Cameron Smith, who has yet to finalise his future for next year.
"It's Cam's right to decide when. Some days I think he is going to retire and other times I think he's not.
"I know people say you must know Craig. I honestly have no idea, I probably know less than other people because I'm not a good guesser.
"Cam has been a big reason why this club has got the results on the field and that builds other things off the field.
"I have been very lucky to have him around."
Bellamy admits he is being driven by the pain of the past two years. The Storm were beaten by the Roosters in the 2018 grand final. Then last year, after Melbourne won the minor premiership by six points, they crashed out in the preliminary final at the hands of their Bondi nemesis.
"It hurts when you don't go the whole way but other sides are in the same boat. The Roosters have been the best side the last two years," he said.
"If you asked a lot of clubs about winning one premiership in five years they would be grabbing it. They are real hard to win.
"We have done really well to be in this position the last (five years). It is also about how you finish a season.
"You need a lot of things to go right at the right time of the season to win a competition.
"The thing we try and do every season is give ourselves a chance to be there."
Originally published as Bellamy opens up on Storm future, Broncos role