NRL: Bellamy sticking with the Storm

By Melissa Woods

Melbourne coach puts friendship above money in deciding his future allegiance.

Craig Bellamy. Photo / Getty Images
Craig Bellamy. Photo / Getty Images

League coaching supremo Craig Bellamy has chosen love over money by signing a new three-year deal with NRL premiers Melbourne that will keep him at the club until the end of 2016.

Bellamy, who was already contracted until the end of this year, said he couldn't leave the players and club he had grown so attached to in his 10 years at the helm.

He said he knocked back "very attractive" offers to stay with the Storm, with the Dragons one club that heavily courted the premiership winner.

"I feel like a bit of a fan, I suppose. This is my club," said Bellamy.

"The emotional attachment is very strong, especially with the players.

"I really enjoy working with the players here, they're really important to me, not only as coach but as a person.

"I found that attachment too hard to break, to be quite honest."

Bellamy said he wasn't sure whether this new deal would see him to the end of his coaching career as a one-club coach.

The 53-year-old felt he didn't need to prove himself at another club and there were still challenges at the Storm.

"I know a lot of people would have thought it would have been a bigger challenge for me to go and that I've achieved all I can here but I don't see that at all.

"There's still plenty we want to achieve as a group."

Securing Bellamy's future was believed to be central to the plans of a foreign consortium, which is surveying the club's books with the intention of buying it from News Ltd.

His decision to stay could also be pivotal in the plans of captain Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, who were believed to have clauses in their contracts should the coach leave.

But Bellamy said he tried to push those thoughts aside when making the decision.

"It's not that I love the colour purple or the emblem, but I love the people in this organisation. "That's important to me."

Bellamy told his players of his decision just before their flight yesterday to England for the World Club Challenge clash against Super League club Leeds on February 22.

Glenn Stewart hopes to return in round seven

Manly officials are hopeful test back-rower Glenn Stewart will miss just the opening six rounds of the NRL season because of ongoing concerns with his left knee.

Stewart underwent off-season surgery to clean up some cartilage in the troublesome joint, having undergone similar surgery last off-season.

The test and Origin representative had an operation on Friday, after injuring his knee during training the previous day.

Despite some reports that he could be out for at least three months, Sea Eagles medical staff believe that with an intense rehabilitation schedule, the playmaking lock could return for the round seven clash against South Sydney on April 26.

Stewart endured an injury-disrupted 2012 campaign, after breaking a bone in his hand in the opening round of the season.

His unavailability for the opening six rounds of the season is set to test Manly's forward depth with coach Geoff Toovey already needing to find a replacement for departed back-rower Tony Williams.

Brett Stewart has reportedly been arrested and released without charge after a fight at a wedding party.

The Manly fullback was arrested after an altercation during celebrations prior to teammate Anthony Watmough's wedding in late January.

No charges have been laid.

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- AAP

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