Bellamy shuns Broncos to be Storm’s $4m man
SUPER coach Craig Bellamy has recommitted to Melbourne Storm until the end of 2021, on a deal worth more than $4m.
In a major coup for the reigning premier, the Sunday Herald Sun can reveal Bellamy has elected to stay in Melbourne and rejected the Brisbane Broncos four-year mega-deal after several weeks of uncertainty.
Storm is expected to make an official announcement on Sunday ahead of the club's crunch game against Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Sunday Herald Sun understands the 58-year-old Bellamy told Storm players and staff of his decision on Saturday night.
Broncos officials have also been informed.
"I've always been confident of Craig staying, it's the right fit for him, the team and the entire organisation," Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy said.
It emerged last month Brisbane officials had secretly met with Bellamy in Melbourne about the possibility of him replacing legendary Broncos coach and former mentor Wayne Bennett, as early as next season.
Bennett remains contracted until the end of 2019.
The Broncos reportedly dangled one of the richest coaching contracts in NRL history to lure the Storm premiership mastermind to Brisbane.
The surprise bid caught Melbourne off-guard and stalled negotiations.
But Bellamy finally agreed to the standing three-year deal late on Saturday.
Bellamy wrestled with the decision but ultimately elected to stay in Melbourne.
His commitment paves the way for Storm to focus on re-signing Cameron Smith (2018) and Cameron Munster (2019) - among the club's top priorities.
Billy Slater (hamstring) is likely to wait until the end of the season to decide his future.
Like with Bellamy, Storm isn't prepared to place any deadlines on Smith and Slater, in a mark of respect for their legacy and contribution in Melbourne.
Importantly, the contract extension allows Bellamy to see out the succession plan already in place to prepare Storm for life after the Big Three - Smith, Slater and Cooper Cronk, who departed last season.
Bellamy's legacy in Melbourne - and rugby league generally - is unparalleled, having led Storm to seven grand finals in 15 seasons and won four.
The 407-game coach owns a career winning strike rate of 67.8 per cent - the second highest ever for a coach with more than 100 games' experience.
Bellamy last year became the fastest coach to reach 250 wins, on the way to claiming a record fourth Dally M Coach of the Year award.