Craig Bellamy is already a man in demand for when he comes off contract at the end of next year but has revealed why he is ready to retire as a head coach at the end of 2021 to pursue a part-time role.
After 18 years at the helm of the Storm, Bellamy has sunk his heart, soul and every fibre of his being into each minute of his tenure.
He is not a hands-off coach. He is hands-on.
The Storm, Broncos and expansion bid-team Brisbane Bombers are keen for his services in 2022 and such has been the media focus that Bellamy put out a statement on Friday to say: "I'm contracted to Melbourne Storm as head coach for 2021 and am committed to that role. I've been having discussions about my future but have stopped those for now and will make a decision once the 2020 finals are over."
On Wednesday on the Sunshine Coast, a relaxed Storm coach spoke about why he was ready to pull the pin as a head coach when next year concludes.
"I think that passion wears me out at times," Bellamy said.
"I have got my role to play in the week, I'm not just sitting back watching everybody else do their job. I have my role and I want to do it the best I can.
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"That takes a lot of time in front of the computer and meeting up with players. We've had some great players here, that's been a great help and I have had a lot of help in the footy department.
"It's been a team effort. Frank [Ponissi] has been wonderful and our assistant coaches over the last few years, we've had the same crew and they are young guys and they are passionate about the job and helping the team and time doesn't get in the road for them."
Getting the Storm into the top two for the fifth consecutive year has been a sapping effort and is why Bellamy can see the finish line as he targets doing it again in 2021.
"We are in the stage of the season where you get a bit frazzled and it's been a long hard year," he said.
"If you ask me six weeks after I finish, I might have a different answer, but I'm thinking that [the 2021 season] will be my tenure as a head coach, without a doubt.
"I would like to stay involved in some way in a part-time role if I can, but having said that, that's for other people to decide whether you give value out of that, especially with the cap [which] will go down after the COVID stuff.
"I'm pretty sure that at this time next year I will be close to finishing."
Bellamy wants to stay involved, which is why a role of coaching director holds such an appeal to him.
"Coaching directors have a wide range of responsibilities or job description," he said.
"There are things that I am really interested in doing, there are some other things I probably wouldn't be interested in doing, but that's the sort of role I would like to go in. It depends on what the job description is.
"Coaching now is virtually seven days a week so I don't want to be doing that, I'm too old for that.
"There are some parts that are harder to do than before, so I think that's a little sign perhaps, I don't know. But I've had a fair run, I'm 62 in a couple of weeks so it's nearly time.
"I'd like to be able to do something part-time but I don't want to do it if the club isn't getting value out of it and they don't want to employ anyone if they aren't getting value out of it.
"What the role would be we have to work it out, but hopefully I can pick up something like that somewhere. Who knows? At the end of the day, I am concerned about this year and finishing off this season as well as we can."
The Brisbane Broncos finished with the wooden spoon this year so it is no surprise they want the two-time premiership-winning coach on board in some capacity.
They have already had three cracks at trying to lure him back to the club, where he was once Wayne Bennett's assistant.
"I'd never say never about anything to be quite honest," Bellamy said.
"I have knocked back a role there on a couple of occasions, but in those separate times I felt it was the best thing for me and for the Melbourne Storm.
"It would have to be a role that is not as full on as a head coaching role. Who knows what it is going to happen. At this year has shown, you expect anything and expect nothing."
The NRL is investigating adding a second Brisbane team to the competition with ARLC chairman Peter V'landys stating recently he was determined to do so if the business case for an extra side stacked up.
Bellamy has held discussions with the Bombers about a role while also recognising the clout of the new Dolphins bid.
"I have a soft spot for the Bombers," Bellamy said.
"Having said that, Redcliffe have been such a successful club for such a long period of time.
"When I was with the Broncos, they were a powerhouse and the NRL will look for a club that can stand on its own feet financially and go from there.
"I know a couple of guys with the Bombers and they have been trying to get in for years and years and I really feel for them because it looked like they would expand and then the NRL didn't.
"Knowing those guys and understanding what they have been through, I would like to see them get in."
Bellamy remains confident there will be a new Brisbane team soon, which is why the timing of his planned head coaching retirement could see him at an expansion club.
"Peter [V'landys] is saying there will be another team and usually what Peter says, something happens, with the way he leads," Bellamy said.
"The Bombers are the team I'd like to see get in, but whatever clubs gets in, they would do a good job and make it a success. The NRL is screaming out for a second Brisbane team."
Storm skipper Cameron Smith is set to make a decision on his future in the coming weeks but is under no pressure from his coach, who said he was still unaware what Smith would do.
"I haven't thought about it, it's his right to decide when that happens," Bellamy said.
"Some days I think he is going to retire and other times I think he's not. I know people say 'you must know Craig'.
"I honestly have no idea, I probably know less than other people because I'm not a good guesser," Bellamy chuckled.
"He has been a big reason why this club has got the results on the field and that builds other things off the field. I have been very lucky to have him around."
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The Storm have finished second or first in the regular season for the past five years but have won just one title, in 2017, during that time.
This season they are in as good a shape as any to have a successful tilt.
"If you asked a lot of clubs about winning one premiership in five years they would be grabbing it. They are real hard to win," Bellamy said.
"We have done really well to be in this position the last [five years]. It is also about how you finish a season. Sometimes it is a bit of form, sometimes it is injuries. If you lose key players it can really hurt you.
"This year our injuries have been before the end of the season. We had a couple at the end of the season last year but everyone is in that boat. Other than Dale [Finucane] we think we are going to have everyone back for that first final.
"We have another game to go but we are resting a lot of players this week and we think that is the right thing to do in this situation."
Bellamy wants to win the comp every year and said "it hurts when you don't go the whole way".
"Other sides are in the same boat. The Roosters have been the best side the last two years," he said.
"This year offers another different equation in that we have been away from home [on the Sunshine Coast] and all clubs have played 18 games straight, whereas before we played 24 games with Origin in between where most players get a rest.
"You need a lot of things to go right at the right time of the season to win a competition. We won in 2017, but sometimes it is in your control and sometimes it isn't. The thing we try and do every season is give ourselves a chance to be there."
Sunshine Coast base
The Storm have not lost a game in Queensland all year since moving to their new base at Twin Waters base, a phenomenal achievement.
Bellamy has made the point on several occasions the relocation is a challenge of its own, but he has also spoken of his concern for the welfare of people in Melbourne where the COVID-19 situation has been dire.
Whether the Storm will return to Twin Waters next year is still to be determined.
"That could happen. It could be that we just do our pre-season up here as well. It depends what happens in Melbourne," he said.
"We'll wait until the end of the season and if that is what the situation is then we will have to do some planning.
"There is a bit of a push for everybody to not do any training before Christmas so everyone that has been in the bubbles can live a normal life for a little bit and start again after Christmas."