Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy at AAMI Park after announcement of contract extension. Pic: Michael Klein
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy at AAMI Park after announcement of contract extension. Pic: Michael Klein

Monday Buzz: Bellamy problem Storm is facing

FIVE years ago, Craig Bellamy said he would retire from coaching at the end of this season.

It will not be happening.

After Friday night's demolition of English Super League champions Leeds, the owners of Melbourne Storm have stepped up moves to keep the super coach on for at least an extra two years.

With Cooper Cronk gone and Cameron Smith and Billy Slater in their twilight years, Bellamy has told those closest to him he wants to usher in the next generation of young stars.

They include the super impressive Brodie Croft, Ryley Jacks, Curtis Scott, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and the still developing Cameron Munster. Plus Bellamy's son and the grandchildren he adores now live in Melbourne.

But here is the problem Storm is now facing. They aren't in a position to give the game's best coach the pay rise he deserves.

 

Storm have stepped up moves to keep Craig Bellamy on for at least an extra two years. Picture: Michael Klein
Storm have stepped up moves to keep Craig Bellamy on for at least an extra two years. Picture: Michael Klein

This season the NRL introduces a $5.7 million salary cap on coaching staffs. It's another move to keep the competition on a level playing field and to stop irresponsible officials from sending their clubs broke in what has become an arms race to get an edge on rivals.

While $5.7 million might seem plenty, consider the size of football departments and the level of professionalism these days.

Just say Bellamy gets $1.2 million a year at Storm, which he probably deserves. That leaves $4.5 million for three assistant coaches, at least two physiotherapists, a doctor, welfare and recruitment managers, a head of football, team manager, performance analysts, sports science staff, game day trainers and the rest.

Craig Bellamy wants to usher in the next generation of young Storm stars.
Craig Bellamy wants to usher in the next generation of young Storm stars.

Capping football department spending is actually a good move.

There is no more money at the NRL to bail out clubs like St George Illawarra, who had to borrow $6 million from headquarters to stay afloat. The next club that goes broke will die.

Clubs will spend $9.4 million on the player salary cap this year. Plus the $5.7 million on the coaching staff. On average, clubs also spend more than $10 million on administration. That comes to $25.1 million all-up. They all get a $13 million grant from the NRL.

So to break even, clubs have to earn more than $12 million from sponsorship, members, bums on seats and merchandise.

Some are fortunate enough to get leagues club grants ranging from $500,000 to $6 million.

Interestingly, the Cowboys are in a similar position to Storm with their grand final coach, Paul Green.

His contract is up at the end of the season. They've been in talks for some time.

Cowboys Coach Paul Green. Picture: Stewart McLean
Cowboys Coach Paul Green. Picture: Stewart McLean

Like Storm, they will be restricted by the new spending guidelines. Clubs that break the rules will not lose competition points but will be fined for every dollar they are over.

Bellamy told me last year he is not a fan. He says the cutbacks will eventually affect skills coaching with younger players and the overall product.

"We're trying to make the game attractive enough on TV to get the big broadcast deals every five years but this might have a detrimental effect on the development of players," he said.

And he'd know. Under his systems, Smith, Cronk, Slater and Greg Inglis became champions.



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