They tried to keep it under wraps. A secret meeting between Craig Bellamy and the Brisbane Broncos. A massive offer tabled to the Melbourne Super Coach. Then the game of NRL Coach Chess commenced.
What We Know?
Craig Bellamy re-signed with the Storm.
When Melbourne got wind of the Brisbane offer, they countered. Tabling a 3-year $5 million deal to keep Craig Bellamy in Melbourne. This is going to ensure a couple of things for Rugby League in Victoria.
Firstly, the club will stay strong. With Cronk leaving last year and Smith and Slater in the twig light of their respective careers, losing Bellamy now would have taken a huge toll on the club.
The Melbourne Storm system is not only admired by other clubs, it’s often replicated. From recruitment pathways to player development to club administration, every single base is covered.
Craig Bellamy’s Impact on the NRL
If the NRL want to expand their product, success in other states is a must. Bellamy’s decision isn’t just one for him and his club, it is one for the future of Rugby League. There is no reason, with the right succession planning in place, the NRL in 10-15 years couldn’t look towards a second Victorian team. You throw some really strong junior development and who knows, in 20 years we might even see a Victorian State of Origin team.
More on that in E’s latest VLOG here:
The Broncos Bennett Situation
Imagine this. You’re at your desk working away. You go on lunch and open up your favourite news site and you find out your employer has approached someone else at a rival company to do your job. You’d be pretty upset right? Maybe even hand in notice? Not Wayne Bennet, not a man who has coached 800 games. Not a man who has played at all levels and coached at all levels. And not a man who has won 7 premierships across two clubs and is widely regarded as the greatest coach in the game’s history.
So what do you do? You dig in. you tell the club you aren’t going anywhere and present the board with a plan that proposes your extended tenure at the club.
The Writing Is On The Wall
Bennett’s contract runs out at the end of the 2019 season. Even though Brisbane lost Bellamy in the bidding war, they have made their intentions clear. Word spread that Brisbane had also approached the management team of Anthony Seibold.
Seibold is in his rookie year at Souths Sydney as head coach and the Broncos approached him. This tells you one thing. Regardless of what Bennett does between now and the start of next season, he is out. All signs point to the Broncos ‘moving in a different direction’.
There are a couple of chess pieces to move around the board here. There is a logical choice and that is Kevin Walters. Walters has coveted the Brisbane gig ever since he hung up his boots. He served his apprenticeship under Bennett and Bellamy, and he is a head coach in waiting. His current coaching gig as head coach of the QLD Marrons is the perfect prelude, a once a year gig where he coaches a crop of superstars.
Here’s the kicker. Coincidentally Walters current contract with the QRL expires in 2020. Right about the time when QLD will be looking for a new coach.
Who Gets the QLD Gig?
Simple. Cameron Smith.
Smith was often described as an extra coach on the field. Smith would have also been the hero of many of the newest group of QLD Maroons when they were Juniors. It would be the perfect post playing job for Smith who could then also stay involved in the development of the Melbourne Storm beyond 2020.
To Sum Up: Bellamy – Storm. Bennett – Retires. Walters – Broncos. Smith – QLD.
What’s your prediction?