Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has had only one top-eight miss since 2004. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has had only one top-eight miss since 2004. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

Bellamy created his own monster

ONE of the great rugby league mysteries of the past two decades is Craig Bellamy's failure as NSW State of Origin coach.

Very few pundits of the game would refute Bellamy is the No.1 coach in the game, and has been for years. His record at Melbourne - one top-eight miss since 2004 - is one statistic alone that accentuates the success of the Storm coach.

Wily old Wayne Bennett wore the crown proudly for years, though Tim Sheens certainly challenged at times. And Trent Robinson is sure to be in title reckoning down the track if his run of success with the Roosters continues.

But Bellamy is the best - no contest. Year after year he produces super-competitive teams despite his club being regularly ripped apart by the salary cap.

This season is a perfect example. The Storm has lost Billy Slater, arguably the greatest fullback to play the game, plus Kangaroo Ryan Hoffman and Origin player Tim Glasby, yet they are the only unbeaten side after four rounds.

Last year it was a similar story. The seemingly irreplaceable Cooper Cronk departed, as did international forwards Jordan McLean and Tohu Harris, but the incredible Storm thundered all the way to the grand final.

Running a list of the also-rans who have joined the Storm for Bellamy to turn into gun players since his appointment as coach in 2003, would take half the space allocated for this column.

And so would a list of the stars lost by the club since Bellamy joined.

Craig Bellamy boards the team bus as the Melbourne Storm prepare to depart for the 2018 NRL grand final. Picture: Wayne Taylor
Craig Bellamy boards the team bus as the Melbourne Storm prepare to depart for the 2018 NRL grand final. Picture: Wayne Taylor

The man is a genius with a clipboard - and a video, and a whiteboard. He is the master tactician who always appears one step ahead of the rest when it comes to coaching.

And while proteges such as Michael McGuire, Brad Arthur, Steve Kearney, Dean Pay and Anthony Seibold make their way in the NRL with varying degrees of success, more are on the way. Bellamy's current assistant, Jason Ryles, is receiving rave revues from those in the know, and his former assistant, Adam O'Brien, the man spearheading the Roosters' defence, is apparently the next NRL coach-in-waiting.

But that is not the end of where the Bellamy tentacles reach.

Going into this weekend there are just two unbeaten sides in the Queensland Cup - Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Easts - who meet at Sunshine Coast Stadium tomorrow in the curtain-raiser to the NRL clash between the Rabbitohs and the Warriors.

Guess to which NRL club they are aligned? Yep, the Storm.

So, the $64 question still begs an answer - why did Bellamy not have success with the Blues? He coached them in nine matches for just two wins from nine appearances - a 22 per cent success rate, which pales beside his NRL record of 68 per cent.

But maybe it was a role in which he was destined to fail.

Lining up against him were Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, players Bellamy had coached to be modern-day greats.

The genius coach had created a monster that even he could not contain, and became a victim of his own success.

News Corp Australia


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