15 Oct. 2005 ARL — Rugby League Kangaroos Invitational vs. NZ A at Telstra Stadium. Coach Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy (L) concentrating — headshot serious sport /A
15 Oct. 2005 ARL — Rugby League Kangaroos Invitational vs. NZ A at Telstra Stadium. Coach Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy (L) concentrating — headshot serious sport /A

Bellamy won’t rule out Brisbane move

MELBOURNE supercoach Craig Bellamy has not ruled out returning to the Broncos, and says he will consider any opportunity to continue his glittering career in the NRL.

On the eve of Friday night's Brisbane-Storm blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium, Bellamy opened up to The Courier-Mail about retirement speculation, revealing he has not completely turned his back on the Broncos.

The Storm coach remains off-contract and will confront his mentor Wayne Bennett, who employed Bellamy at Red Hill 20 years ago with a view to him eventually coaching the Broncos.

Bennett's succession plan ultimately fell apart, with Bellamy embarking on his own journey to greatness at a Storm club he has steered to seven grand finals in the past 11 years.

But with Bennett's contract expiring at the end of next year, Brisbane hierarchy must prepare for a new chapter and Bellamy refuses to close the door on a Broncos job he once coveted.

Asked if he has moved on for good from the Broncos club that helped propel him to success at Melbourne, Bellamy was unequivocal.

"No, I don't think I've moved on," he said.

"To say I would never coach the Broncos ... I wouldn't say that.

"You never know what's going to happen in life. A couple of times I said I would retire and here I am, I'm still coaching.

"I wouldn't rule any option out. To be honest, the way Wayne is going, he might outlast me."

A fortnight ago, Bellamy, 59 in October, said he was poised to make a definitive call on his future.

Bellamy recently coached his 400th game with the Storm.
Bellamy recently coached his 400th game with the Storm.

The former NSW Origin coach said he needed more time to finalise his future but said he was open to consultancy work or even a coaching director's position at any club, including the Broncos.

"That goes for Brisbane or any other team," Bellamy said. "I just have to decide whether I want to be a full-time coach next year. I'm not going to rule anything out because there's a few roles I think I can play to be honest.

"There's a few things I need to decide. I know I said a couple of weeks ago I would make a call but I'm not quite there yet.

"In the near future, I will come to a decision and go from there.

"I wouldn't just fully retire. If I don't go on full-time, I would certainly look at a part-time role or work in consultancy."

Bellamy also revealed he nearly returned to Broncos to replace Bennett a decade ago, only for the deal to collapse when Brisbane's former hierarchy slapped a deadline on him.

"It was in 2008 that Brisbane approached me," he said.

"I actually had a chat to the Broncos. Bruno Cullen was the CEO, and unfortunately things didn't work out.

"There were a few things that didn't work out. I was reasonably keen to come back home, but when we spoke, things didn't line up so I stayed in Melbourne and they went with Ivan Henjak."

In head-to-head coaching combat, Bellamy has the edge on Bennett. He has won 22 of 32 clashes for a 68 per cent success rate, but is in awe of Bennett's longevity.

"To be nearly 70, he is just remarkable," he said.

"I just don't know how Wayne has done it for so long, he amazes me."

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