Wed. Aug 17th, 2022

The Melbourne Storm have an unlikely hero to thank for convincing Craig Bellamy to continue as head coach into a 21st season.

The Storm on Wednesday announced Bellamy will remain in the role for the 2023 campaign.

“I think I turned a bit of a corner actually, I had a bit of a chat to Joey Johns actually” Bellamy revealed to 9News.

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“Andrew rang me up and he made a couple of points and they seemed to make a bit of sense to me.

“So that probably swung me the way I decided to go.”

The three-time premiership winning coach would not reveal what Johns said, but it’s understood to be related to the Immortal’s own decision to retire from playing.

Sources close to the situation have revealed Johns’ message to Bellamy was along the lines of ‘if you’re unsure, go one more year’.

Johns told Bellamy if retirement was the right call, he’d know for sure and would not be torn.

“It just sort of clicked something in my head with the decision. I appreciate him ringing me up now, and like I say, I think that was the main thing that turned me on.”

Bellamy had seriously been weighing up stepping away from full time coaching.

Not even the lure of a new challenge of a fresh faced squad minus the big names of Felise Kaufusi, Brandon Smith, and Jesse and Kenny Bromwich next year was enticing to the 62-year-old.

“If I based my decision solely on that, I’d be going,” Bellamy said.

The agreement is only a 12-month extension, and Bellamy isn’t making any decision on which way he’ll go at the end of 2023. He has always said he’ll continue in some part time role.

The next person to coach Melbourne has massive shoes to fill… with Bellamy having guided the Storm to five grand finals, including three premierships in the past 10 seasons.

But with Billy Slater moving into a senior position as Queensland State of Origin coach, many are calling for Melbourne to build a succession plan around their former fullback.

“It’d be a bit of a fairytale I suppose if it happened” the current Storm coach admitted.

“One thing I will say about Bill, if he did take it on, the one thing he does whatever he goes in to, he goes boots and all. There’s no dipping the toe in.

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“His passion would be one of his strengths. He’s obviously got good footy knowledge as well and he communicates well.

“He’s got a lot of traits there, I reckon, to make a success of the job. But whether he wants to do that, only he can make that decision at the appropriate time.”

The other catch in Bellamy’s contract decision is what effect it will have on Cameron Munster’s future. With the playmaker off contract at the end of 2023, Munster may feel compelled to take up one of the many enticing offers from the multitude of clubs chasing him, if he feels next year will be Bellamy’s last.

“I’ve spoken to him a couple of times and made the point of how keen the club is to keep him long term” Bellamy revealed.

“He’s got his own decision to make. When people have wanted to go, we’ve never really held it against them.”

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