Brandon Smith thinks Craig Bellamy will stick around with him at Melbourne next year as the coach continues to laugh off questions about his NRL future.
Craig Bellamy reckons the Melbourne juggernaut will continue with or without him but hooker Brandon Smith is sure he’s been key to their success in the post-‘Big Three’ era and that he’ll stay on to coach them next year.
Storm chief executive Justin Rodski is confident the veteran coach will sign an extension when the side eventually return from their Sunshine Coast base to Victoria.
Bellamy again laughed off questions over his future after his side’s 40-12 defeat of Brisbane on Thursday night, with fullback Nicho Hynes and Smith the best alongside returning halfback Jahrome Hughes.
It was their ninth straight win of 13 points or more – an NRL record – and continued an incredible 12-year undefeated run against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
And it’s come not only without former club greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, dubbed the Big Three, but also with injuries to newly-established stars Cameron Munster, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Harry Grant.
Bellamy doesn’t see this new crop’s rise as fresh motivation for him to continue, nor does he think they’d struggle if he does call time.
“The club and the team will be fine if I’m not there; systems are in place where it’ll continue to run along those lines,” he said.
“I’d be very confident whether I’m there or not this club would go alone fine.
“It doesn’t matter who we’ve got there, I’m doing the job as best I can.”
Brandon Smith doesn’t agree though, the hooker confirming that he’ll remain at the club next year and that “he thinks Craig will be too”.
“It’s (the side’s consistency) obviously due to the coaching staff,” he said.
“We’ve got special talents in our team as well, they just haven’t reached those great levels yet but Craig knows how to get the most out of his players and we’re very tight-knit.”
Bellamy hopes that bond will help the side retain Hynes, who Smith described as a “poster boy” figure who would be an asset on and off the field for any club.
The 24-year-old is off contract and could shift to become a first-choice fullback or half, something that’s out of reach at Melbourne thanks to Papenhuyzen and Munster.
“We can offer him a certain amount. Whether that’s enough, I’m not sure but I’d like him to consider he’s playing really good footy where he is,” Bellamy said.
“But it’s hard for us to guarantee (him a starting role)…it’ll be what Nicho decides is really important for him, but we’re as keen as mustard to hang on to him.”
The Penrith Panthers have avenged their heartache from the 2020 grand final, beating the Melbourne Storm 10-6 in a bruising, error-filled encounter that was, nonetheless, absolutely brilliant to watch.
The Penrith Panthers have avenged their grand final defeat from last season, defeating the Melbourne Storm 10-6 to punch their ticket to next week’s grand final. In a highly entertaining match that was far more entertaining than the low score suggested, both sides showed off incredible defensive ability to repel seemingly countless opportunities. But it […]