Storm’s Bellamy rules out NRL retirement

In-demand Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has ruled out retirement but says all other options remain on the table beyond this NRL season.

Bellamy is still tossing up whether to remain in his position as head coach for a 20th year or move into a director of coaching role with the Storm, with similar positions at Brisbane and Cronulla also on offer.

He said a non-football related matter, believed to be a family illness, was delaying his decision, and that he was still interested in all options.

But he ended speculation that walking away from the game was on the cards.

“This time last week I’d signed for the Storm and a week later I’m retiring,” said Bellamy, ahead of Melbourne’s Thursday night clash with South Sydney.

“I don’t think I’ve mentioned once that I was thinking about retirement.”

While staying in Melbourne looks to be his preference or a move to Queensland where he has a residence and family, Bellamy said that Cronulla was still in the mix.

There he would assist Craig Fitzgibbon, who has been appointed head coach for the 2022 season.

“I think they’re (Cronulla) still in there; I’m still interested.

“A lot of things haven’t changed from a couple of months ago, there’s just been some things that have happened that are not connected for footy and that’s the sticking point but hopefully I will have a decision soon.”

Superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is believed to be close to agreeing to a new two-year extension that locks him in at Melbourne until the end of 2024.

He previously said Bellamy had been a big factor in his development and he wanted the veteran coach to stay on.

Bellamy said the growth of players such as 22-year-old Papenhuyzen, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury, kept his passion for coaching alive.

“They’re a really good group to work with and there’s some real talented players amongst them as well.

“It’s enjoyable and it has been for a few years with the improvement of some of these blokes; obviously Paps is a real good example.”

Papenhuyzen trained strongly on Wednesday ahead of the ANZ Stadium clash but has been left out as a precaution with the Storm’s next match not until Sunday week.

“We probably could have played him but after this we’ve got a longer turnaround so if he’d of played this week and done a bit more damage to it or shook it up a little bit he might miss another two or three weeks,” Bellamy said.

“We’re reasonably confident that he will be back for our next game.”


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