Craig Bellamy hopes to have his coaching future sorted in the coming weeks as his Storm side closes in on back-to-back premierships, while he also reiterated how upset he’d be if co-captain Dale Finucane left to join another club next season.
The Storm coach has been at the helm since 2003 and has turned the club from a middling team into perennial premiership contenders.
His future has been one of the hottest topics in rugby league, and while it’s believed he might re-sign beyond this season, Bellamy says he’s yet to commit one way or the other.
“That’ll get done in due time, hopefully,” he said.
“It’s been a tough four to six weeks obviously with the footy, but there have also been a couple of other things as well.
“I’d certainly miss some of the characters here, but also you can say what you like about them, but they keep turning up every week and do their best. That’s all we’ve ever asked.”
If he does stay, he’d love to have Finucane in his side next year.
However, the Storm don’t have the money in their salary cap to compete with other clubs who are desperate to sign a veteran middle forward who would bring on field success and a strong culture wherever he goes.
Finucane has been a perfect fit in Melbourne and embodies everything the club strives to be, but money and long-term security could dictate his decision as he weighs up what could be his last contract in the NRL.
“As I’ve said before, we want him to stay,” Bellamy said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever coached a more enjoyable player to coach.
“He’s that diligent in what he does. He’s one of those blokes you have to hold back. You’ve got to put the reins on him and pull the reins back. You don’t have to get the whip out on him at any stage, and that’s what we love about him.
“I’ll be devastated if we don’t keep him.
“At the end of the day, Dale’s got to make a decision. I know it’ll be the right decision for him and his family and I’ll support that all the way. I just hope he ends up in purple next year.”
After back-to-back wins, the Knights were brought back to earth on Saturday night. (Photo by Regi Varghese/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Knights coach Adam O’Brien says he must bear the guilt for Newcastle’s 48-4 loss to the Storm and blames himself for the club’s inability to handle a hectic week that saw the competition move to Queensland.
“It was a tough night at the office,” he lamented.
“It was a tough week, and we took that into the contest. We haven’t handled the week like we should have, and that lies with me. I think we trained light, and we started that way tonight.”
The Knights were down 30-0 at halftime and never looked competitive as they missed a golden opportunity to leapfrog the Sharks into the top eight.
Losing to the Storm isn’t the crime of the century, but O’Brien concedes their preparation for the Saturday night showdown on the Gold Coast contributed to the hefty margin.
The week started poorly with Daniel Saifiti ruled out early, got worse when Mitchell Pearce suffered a hamstring injury, and it bubbled over when Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer suffered game-ending head knocks in the first half.
Life in the bubble is something all teams will need to get used to, and while the focus has been on the players, it’s actually the coaches who face the sternest test.
“It was a very indifferent week,” O’Brien explained.
“With the arrangements to travel up to the Sunny Coast, we flipped our training days. So when we’d usually have a day off, we trained.
“Whenever you do something different, you’re fraught with danger, hence having some awareness with Mitchell Pearce and his hamstring after training.
“We had a couple of things go against us during the week in terms of Daniel (Saifiti) not getting up for the game and Mitchell didn’t get up for the game, and then we didn’t handle a couple of things in the game with Kalyn and Klem not participating in much of the contest.
“I just don’t think we handled it, and it’s a reflection of the week.
“It starts with me. I’ve got to get us into a rhythm and a routine now that we’re up there in our camp.”
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