Australian speculation is mounting that Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy will cross the Tasman in 2014 in a multi-million deal with the New Zealand Warriors.
Australian media are reporting that the Warriors will likely hire a caretaker coach next year as they wait for Bellamy to take up a three-year contract worth $A4 million from 2014.
Bellamy is contracted to the Storm for the 2013 season, and his agent John Fordham has confirmed the final year of the Melbourne contract will be honoured.
The Daily Telegraph says it is understood Bellamy has met with Warriors officials since leading Melbourne to premiership glory over the Bulldogs two weeks ago.
Bellamy's management have said he will wait until Melbourne's extended premiership celebrations after their grand final victory against the Bulldogs are over before beginning negotiations on a new contract.
Former New Zealand Test firebrand and Melbourne assistant Dave Kidwell was expected to be named Warriors coach later this week, with ex-Penrith and Canberra mentor Matthew Elliott his likely offsider.
But with the Warriors' pre-season beginning in less than four weeks, Kidwell felt there was not be enough time to prepare a squad for 2013 and has withdrawn, the Telegraph reported.
Brian McLennan, in the first year of a two-year contract, was dumped as Warriors coach two games before the end of the season after a horror run left the club 14th on the NRL ladder after making the grand final last year.
Storm officials are keen to fend off rival clubs and keep Bellamy at the club beyond what will be his 11th season in charge next year.
Melbourne's premiership victory has only served to further enhance Bellamy's reputation and his asking price.
The four-time grand final winning coach has also been linked to a big money deal with St George Illawarra, but Melbourne are quietly confident Bellamy's ties to his playing group will play a key role in any decision.