Melbourne open contract talks with Smith after snaring Bellamy
With Craig Bellamy committed to the Storm for the next three years, Melbourne CEO Dave Donaghy has revealed preliminary talks have begun to secure Cameron Smith for 2019.
"The focus will definitely turn to Cameron now," Donaghy told NRL.com.
"We've started very preliminary discussions with him. We'd love nothing more than to see Cameron Smith go around next year.
"But we understand there is also a lot to consider at his end. However, we'll keep having those discussions behind closed doors."
Donaghy was a relieved man, when Bellamy rang late on Friday night to confirm he would take up the three-year extension, as revealed by NRL.com on Saturday.
"I understood there was the lure of a warming climate," Donaghy said referring to the Brisbane Broncos' interest in the 59-year-old coach, "But I remained quietly confident Craig would stay. He has been the driving force behind building something very special here in Melbourne."
Getting the same commitment for next season from Smith would mean the 34-year-old Storm skipper – who turns 35 on Monday alongside his friend and teammate Billy Slater – could become the first player in rugby league's 111-year history to play 400 games.
Slater is also off contract at the end of this year and Donaghy is waiting to talk to his champion fullback about his intentions. The two veterans are among 17 Storm players unsigned beyond 2018
Donaghy said no one had been neglected while the club negotiated with Bellamy.
"We have a list group that constantly looks at our player options – on or off contract. While we were in discussions with Craig we were still doing our job regarding our players," he said.
However, Donaghy will hope that by securing Bellamy's signature it might influence the intentions of five emerging stars who are off contract in 2019.
Forwards Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Joe Stimson and Christian Welsh, alongside backs Jahrome Hughes and Cameron Munster might be as happy as Donaghy to learn Bellamy is staying.
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