Bellamy shuts down $5m Broncos myth
CRAIG Bellamy has addressed speculation he will leave Melbourne to coach Brisbane, saying he has met with the Broncos but is yet to receive a formal offer from the club.
Brisbane has approached Bellamy about joining the club to replace Wayne Bennett, who is contracted until the end of 2019.
Bellamy, who comes off contract at Melbourne this season, is considering a three-year offer worth nearly $4 million to stay with the defending premiers.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Bellamy denied reports the Queensland club had tabled him an offer worth $5.4 million over four years - a report Brisbane CEO Paul White also shut down earlier on Wednesday.
"I haven't been made an offer from Brisbane. I did sit down with Paul White," Bellamy said.
"I had a little chat with Paul White about footy, footy departments and things like that."
Bellamy said he is still weighing up the Storm's three-year deal but would not be rushed into making a decision about his future.
"The Storm offer has been there for a couple of weeks but I haven't had much time to give it much thought," he said.
"There's a whole heap of things to go through. It's not just the dollar signs. I need to make sure I'm very clear in what I'm going to do.
"I'd rather the decision sooner rather than later but I'm not going to say I'll do it in the next few days to get you and the cameras to stop following me."
Bellamy admitted he was disappointed the story about a possible move up north had been leaked and maintained there was a "falseness" to reports the Broncos had put up an offer with a dollar figure attached to it.
"There is some falseness to it without a doubt, to the whole story," Bellamy said.
"I could say I'm disappointed probably but having said that, our game is famous for things getting out. Nothing stays secret for long so I probably should have expected it."
The 58-year-old said the offer from Melbourne arrived roughly two-and-a-half weeks ago, around the time he first sat down with White, but the Victorian club hasn't given him a deadline to respond to the lucrative contract extension.
Bellamy said he hasn't had much time to consider the deal but will mull it over next week.
"When I sit down and give it some thought I'll think about what's best for me, what's best for my family and what's best for the footy club," Bellamy said.
"Our last three weeks has been really hectic. I haven't been able to give it the time it needs to make a decision.
"These sort of decisions are always hard."
Bennett and White on Wednesday were adamant the master coach will still be in charge at Red Hill next year, raising the possibility Bellamy would need to take a 12-month break from coaching before taking the top job in Brisbane.
The respected Storm mentor remained open to the possibility of taking a one-year sabbatical but said he would either accept Melbourne's offer or walk away from the club.
"I don't think the Storm are going to sign me up for one year so if I do move it will be at the end of this year," Bellamy said.
"I've never had a year off. You could look at it in two ways. It could be refreshing and go to organisations and pick up on things. We usually do that for two weeks. Having a year off, the game evolves quickly so you could lose.
"The first thing I'll be doing is deciding whether I stay on at Melbourne or not.
"Depending on what decision I come to there with the Melbourne offer I'll decide what to do from there."
Melbourne boss Dave Donaghy confirmed the Storm won't offer the premiership-winning coach a one-year deal if he's going to leave for Brisbane afterwards.
Donaghy made it clear that if Bellamy didn't want the three-year deal they would look elsewhere for a coach who did.
"We're not in the business of short-term planning," Donaghy said.
"We've made a three-year offer to our coach and that was off the back of a discussion with the coach.
"There's lot of confidence in our football club in terms of what we offer and we're not in the business of being someone else's feeder team."
The chief executive said the Storm had given Bellamy a "significant" three-year offer around a month ago and the deal had no time constraints. He said that despite the big Broncos offer he was "still optimistic" it would be accepted.
"He knows how we feel about him ... it goes without saying he's the best coach in the game and I think the offer reflects that and we'd like to see him stay so he's got a decision to make," Donaghy said.
"We haven't set one (a deadline for him to sign).
"For us it's a confidence thing. We're a confident organisation, we're confident with what we do the structure, system, and environment and the people and Craig leads those people in the football department.
"It's a wonderful system around him and I know he sees that."
Donaghy said they had a succession plan in place for Bellamy but pointed out that it was normal business practice and his board would also have one for him.
Donaghy said as well as the ongoing success of his club he believed Bellamy would be enticed to stay due to the young talent in the playing ranks and benefits of avoiding the constant NRL spotlight by being in Melbourne.