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The Roar


NRL NEWS: Storm scrap Bellamy deadline, Young Tiger off to Manly, Lodge embarrassed

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15th March, 2022

Overseeing his 500th NRL game when Melbourne host South Sydney on Thursday night, Craig Bellamy says there’s no longer a deadline for a decision on his coaching future.

Bellamy will join an elite four-man club who have reached the milestone and boasts the best winning percentage of the quartet at 70 per cent.

Whether he makes it to 600 remains to be seen with Bellamy saying the Storm board have scrapped a March 31 deadline for him make a call on whether 2022 will be his last. 

As well as off-season drama with the white powder trio and the departure of key players Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes, the coach has been dealing with the loss of his mother and some serious family health issues.

“I was supposed to make a decision but it’s been a bit of a disrupted pre-season for me in a few ways and I haven’t worked that out so the club has been good enough to give me a bit more time,” Bellamy said on Wednesday.

The 62-year-old said he would move into a director of coaching role with Melbourne but it was just a matter of when.

He said he was waiting for an ebb in his hunger to compete or a drop in his attention to detail to provide a hint that his time was up.

“I don’t want to be letting anybody down so when I lose some enthusiasm or I think I’m not being as thorough or as hard-working as I need to be, that’s when it’s time to go,” Bellamy said.


“I’m not sure what that reason will be but things change in your life.

“I’m a grand-father and it’s one of the most enjoyable times but as soon as I feel I can’t give it the time and effort that I’ve given it my whole career well then I know that’s the time that I’m out.” 

Bellamy has seen enough over his 20 seasons with Melbourne to feel confident the Storm can ride out their current rocky period.

They were hit hard with injuries in round one, losing skipper Christian Welch (achilles) and winger George Jennings (knee) for the season and star hooker cum ruck Brandon Smith (hand) missing a month.

Playmaker Cameron Munster, incoming hooker Harry Grant and co-captain Jesse Bromwich missed the opening round through suspension and COVID-19 protocols with the Storm still trying to cover the departure of Finucane and Hynes.

But having steered the Storm through the traumatic 2010 salary cap scandal and the loss of the Big Three – Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk – Bellamy has enough belief the current personnel changes won’t impact their season.


“Obviously there’s some challenges losing Welchy and George and Brandon is out for little bit so it’s been a tough week but I was so proud of what the team did, we’ve just got to make sure we back that up again this week,” Bellamy said.

“It doesn’t happen too often that you lose two players, one being your captain, for the season on one night.

“We needed to get out of that mindset when we came back to training this week and I think the boys have.

“It was certainly a downer … but we’ve had to move on from there.”

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 25: Kelma Tuilagi of the Tigers runs the ball during the NRL Trial Match between the Sydney Roosters and the Wests Tigers at Central Coast Stadium on February 25, 2022 in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Kelma Tuilagi. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Young Tiger signs with Sea Eagles

Wests Tigers’ rebuild hit another obstacle with young gun Kelma Tuilagi signing a three-year deal with Manly.


The 23-year-old second-rower, who played five games last year and started on an edge in last Saturday’s loss to Melbourne, told The Daily Telegraph that he had opted to go with the Sea Eagles after only being offered a two-year extension by the Tigers.

It means the Tigers will have both second-row spots to fill in 2023 with Luciano Leilua heading to the Cowboys – they have already poached Parramatta’s Isaiah Papali’i, who would be a certainty for one of the edge-forward roles, for next season.

Tuilagi said he got emotional telling Wests coach Michael Maguire he would be moving on.

“Madge fought to bring me here from Melbourne. I had tears in my eyes telling him,” Tuilagi told The Daily Telegraph. “I wanted to tell him face-to-face because he was confident I would stay.”

The Tigers also have Penrith hooker Api Koroisau heading to Concord next season and with several players coming off contract, including Luke Brooks, James Tamou, Tommy Talau, Thomas Mikaele, Jock Madden and Luke Garner, they wil have plenty of money in their salary cap to overhaul their roster.

However, the problem for the club in recent years has been attracting marquee names with the likes of Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and Nick Cotric among the players who have negotiated with the Tigers but signed elsewhere.

Tuilagi made 109 metres from 11 hit-ups and pulled off 22 tackles in 70 minutes against his old club in Round 1 and has been named in the second row for this Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.


Lodge hooks in after ’embarrassing’ exit

Matt Lodge concedes his on-field temper let him down during the 2021 NRL season, revealing he has taken up fishing to help clear his mind.

Lodge will play his first game of the season on Saturday when the Warriors take on Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium as he returns to the scene of his final-round brain explosion last year.

The prop was one of three forwards sin-binned in the final 15 minutes of the Warriors’ season, all stemming from separate melees.

Lodge was also fined $5000 by the NRL for giving a one-fingered salute to the Titans crowd as he left the field, capping a drama-filled end to 2021.

The dangerous contact charge from late in that match marked his fifth offence of the year, while he served a total of four games in bans on the sideline.

The dramas marked Lodge’s first return to the headlines after having a relatively trouble-free run at Brisbane after his long ban out of the game for high-profile off-field incidents.


“It’s definitely something that holds me back a little bit, my short fuse,” Lodge admitted. “It was a tough couple of years of footy and probably the frustration just spilled over in those in those last few weeks. “It was a bit embarrassing how I went out that last game.”

Pearce open to NRL swanswong

Premiership-winning former Roosters and Newcastle halfback Mitchell Pearce wouldn’t say no if an opportunity came up to finish his career back in the NRL.

Pearce is in the early stages of a two-year deal at the Catalans Dragons in the Super League and despite turning 33 next month, the 309-gamer believes he could be of value to an NRL club down the track.

“Look, I haven’t shut the door on anything. If you had have asked me six months ago whether I’d be in the south of France at the moment I wouldn’t have even imagined that.,” Pearce told SEN Radio on Tuesday morning.

“At the moment I’m 100 per cent committed to the Dragons, I’ve got a two-year contract with a third-year option and I’m really hungry to win a trophy with the boys here. 


“That’s where my focus is but who knows? I’m not sure, I haven’t shut anything off completely.”