Bellamy to decide on future, Slater
A decision on Craig Bellamy's future is imminent, as the Melbourne Storm coach says he hopes to come to a conclusion in the next seven days.
As the Storm launched their season on Friday at Crown in Melbourne, Bellamy stood in front of the media and told them that a verdict on his future is right around the corner.
"I'll probably give a decision by the end of next week," Bellamy said.
"It's not far away now. We've got a few days off and I'll clear my head and make sure I make the right decision, hopefully by the middle of next week. I want to do it before the start of the season, so hopefully it'll be done next week."
The 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership season will be Bellamy's 14th in charge of the Storm, the longest current reign of any NRL coach at their current club.
When asked whether or not his side was ready for Round 1, Bellamy said in an ideal world he would have liked an extra week to fine-tune his team's attack.
"After two trials, and how we played in the two trials, I probably would have liked another trial with all of our handling issues," he said.
"The boys are really aware of it though at training and have been really good this week. We need to be like that again next week and hopefully be ready."
Had there been an extra week Bellamy almost certainly would have superstar fullback Billy Slater for Round 1, but as it stands Slater is touch and go for their clash with the Dragons on March 7.
"I'm hopeful [Slater plays], really hopeful. It's been a bit of an issue throughout the pre-season, but he did some contact yesterday and trained again today, so we're very hopeful at this stage that he'll be right," said Bellamy.
With Cameron Munster also in doubt for Round 1 Bellamy may be without his two best fullbacks, but while he admits there's one player in particular he has his eye on for the number 1 jersey he didn't give away who it could be.
"We're still looking at a couple options, but if we do have to be without both of them, we've probably got one guy in our head that we think we'll put there, but we still need to see them do a bit more training. Hopefully that won't happen and one of them will come up, hopefully both of them will come up," he said.
Instead of giving Slater and Munster up until game time to prove their fitness, Bellamy will opt for a different approach.
"We'll probably make a call a little bit earlier than [the weekend] to be quite honest. We'll see how they're both going, and as I said we've got a couple of days off, we're back Tuesday, and we'll reassess it then. Hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday we'll be able to make that decision."
Regardless of which players take the field in 10 days time against St George Illawarra, Bellamy says the mood in the clubrooms is an upbeat one.
"We're all really looking forward to next Monday night. It's the start of the new season, and hopefully we'll be ready for it," said Bellamy.