Coffee with Craig Bellamy: Part Two
Recently, NRL.com's William Botoulas sat down with Storm coach Craig Bellamy for a wide-ranging chat. If you missed part one of their dicussion, you can read it here.
Craig Bellamy on...
Finding the enjoyment again
Craig Bellamy did not exactly fall out of love with the game 12 months ago but that love was certainly tested.
The tragic injury to Alex McKinnon and subsequent seven-game suspension handed down to Jordan McLean left the coaching legend somewhat disenchanted with the game that has consumed his life since the 1980s – all the way back to his playing days with the Raiders.
The tragic death of Ryan Tandy later that month, one of his former players who spent two years with the Storm in 2009-10, left Bellamy gutted.
Yet when the summer approached it was that Gen Y, for all he challenges that they present, who gave their tired coach a renewed sense of motivation.
"Last year was a really tough year with a few things that happened. There were also a couple of players who weren’t buying into what we were about here which made it a little bit more difficult as well," Bellamy said.
"I got a little bit of a spring in my step in pre-season though than I had for a couple of [years] before because of the young guys.
"I've found this year that because the squad was young and inexperienced that we had to push the basics a lot harder in the pre-season. I found that refreshing, I was doing more coaching than I'd probably done in pre-seasons before."
Bellamy has one year left to run on his contract but there is a two-year extension tied into the current deal should he wish to accept it.
He has already stated publically that this deal will be his last as an NRL coach.
As for the contract extension, that is something both he and the club have communicated they would like resolved by May next year.
If the next two weeks go according to plan and Bellamy guides the Storm to a fifth grand final victory there will not be much left for the 55-year-old to achieve in the coach's box.
Though he is adamant that the emotion of success or indeed failure will not play a part in his decision to extend his coaching tenure beyond 2016.
"You have to think whether you have still got the energy and still got the enthusiasm for it, that is a huge thing," Bellamy said.
"Like any job you have your good times and you have your bad times. If I had to make a decision last Friday night at 12 o'clock I am probably going again.
"Last year was different in that a couple of things happened… it was energy sapping to be quite honest and it was not that enjoyable."
"You've just got make sure you are thinking about it long and hard and you put a few things down on paper so you can actually see the advantages and disadvantages."
The state of the game
Throughout this season Bellamy has not taken a backwards step when it comes to butting heads with those at NRL HQ.
Be it around the matter of player welfare, scheduling or rule interpretations, the Melbourne coach has no qualms with voicing his opinion on the state of our game as it currently exists.
He now takes solace in the fact that concerns around player welfare and scheduling will be resolved in the wake of the new broadcast deal though he is conscious of the NRL product as a whole as it relates to the game-day experience.
"Getting people to games is seen to be a bit of an issue," Bellamy said.
"The thing that works against ourselves is that our game is such a good game to watch on TV. Nearly everything happens right on the ball… a lot of people are quite comfortable to stay at home and watch it on TV.
"I think that is a bit of a shame, you'd certainly like to see bigger crowds at our games but we are a victim of our own product.
"I think we are heading in the right direction in a lot of areas in our game, hopefully it will keep being that way because we have to.
"You see that the AFL always seem to be on top of things in their game, the A-League looks like it is going to get bigger so to keep our spot there [at such a level] in Australian sport we need to keep working hard but I think in most areas we are working well."