PREMIERSHIP coach Craig Bellamy will meet his manager, John Fordham, this week in the first step towards deciding whether his job at Melbourne is done.
Bellamy is off contract at the Storm at the end of next year, but such is his lure, he has even been the subject of speculation he could move elsewhere next year.
That seemed to be only fuelled by the Storm’s premiership win against the Bulldogs, with some believing that, after 10 seasons as head coach of the club, he had nothing left to achieve.
Melbourne chief executive Ron Gauci was adamant that Bellamy would be coaching the Storm next season, appearing to end any prospect of the Warriors doing what the Bulldogs did last year with Des Hasler – enticing the premiership-winning coach away from his incumbent club.
Gauci’s belief will be backed up by the likelihood that the Warriors will appoint Bellamy’s assistant, David Kidwell, as the club’s replacement for Brian McClennan this week, with Matthew Elliott set to take on a role alongside him.
But Bellamy’s future after next year is still uncertain. It remains unclear whether the Warriors plan to offer Kidwell a one-year contract in order to make their pitch for Bellamy, or – like the Roosters did with Trent Robinson – appoint an untried coach longer term.
Bellamy will travel to Europe later this week with the Storm’s general manager of football operations, Frank Ponissi, on a fact-finding mission, visiting rugby union and football clubs in England, France and Belgium.
Before he does, he will sit down with Fordham to begin to map out his future.
”He had a pretty busy week last week,” Fordham said. ”Quite rightly, I left him to enjoy the victory, but we’re intending to catch up this week. First and foremost, I need to have a discussion with Craig, and we can take it from there. Melbourne are comfortable with the fact that we’ve had no formal discussions with them just yet. But Craig and I will certainly be making contact this week. That’ll be step one. I don’t know what steps two, three or four will be yet. But that’s a starting point.”
Even with Bellamy overseas for a fortnight, Gauci said he could still begin formal negotiations with Fordham. While he has not, and is unlikely to, put a deadline on a decision, he still hoped for a decision ”sooner rather than later”.
”The negotiations will be in the hands of myself and his manager,” Gauci said. ”When his manager wants to talk, we’ll be ready. There’s no real urgency on our part. One thing I can say is he’s not going anywhere for 2013.”
Wests Tigers have also clouded the coaching landscape, having sacked Tim Sheens.
Another Melbourne assistant, Kevin Walters, has been linked with that job, along with Nathan Brown, Matt Parish, Mick Potter and Steve Georgallis.
The Tigers still need to finalise whether Sheens, in Townsville with the Australian squad this week, will accept another position with the club, which could impact on their appointment. Yesterday, Brisbane confirmed former New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney, who was sacked by Parramatta this year, would join the Broncos as Anthony Griffin’s assistant.
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