Bellamy happy for Hoffman to play on
If 34-year-old veteran backrower Ryan Hoffman wants to make it to a 13th season with Melbourne and 16th in the NRL, he has the blessing of his coach Craig Bellamy.
"If he wants to, I couldn't see why he wouldn't," Bellamy said of his off-contract workhorse.
That endorsement could have been influenced by the bandaged-head Hoffman making two spectacular charge-downs in the final five minutes of the gripping 9-8 Storm win over the Sydney Roosters at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
Charge-downs aren't a thing of beauty like a winger scoring acrobatically in the corner. It's a pure effort and desire play which has become a bit of a dying art since former Bulldogs and Warriors skipper Steve Price retired.
But Hoffman revived it on Friday night – both times smothering attempted field goals by his former teammate Cooper Cronk.
The first ricocheted off Hoffman's fingers backwards into Roosters territory and the 105kg forward sprinted 25 metres like a centre to regain possession.
"It was a tremendous effort, especially that first one where he actually got the ball back as well," Bellamy said.
"Two of them [Tim Glasby, Hoffman] got the charge down on the second one. Again he did a really good job there as our guys showed the desperation - that first one by Hoff was one hell of a play."
It's that kind of 'at-any-cost' moves by Hoffman that endears him to the Storm and would count in his favour if he decided to continue his career in 2019.
He made his debut in 2003 and played in three grand finals over the next nine years before leaving for 34 games at Wigan in the aftermath of Melbourne's 2010 salary cap scandal.
Hoffman returned in 2012 and played in the grand final triumph over the Bulldogs before leaving for three years in Auckland [2015-17]. He made his second coming at the Storm this year and played his 319th NRL game on Friday night.
"It's really good to have him back. He's one of the best club-men you'll ever meet; you'll ever have," Bellamy said.
"Everything about him and his footy is about the team, about the club, and not about himself.
"He's a very unselfish guy … not unlike his dad. I played with his dad [Jay Hoffman] at Canberra and he was exactly the same.
"While he's still playing reasonably well I couldn't see why he wouldn't want to go on. Having said that he's getting on a bit too. "
Hoffman turns 35 in January.
"I know he's looking at being involved in the administration side of a footy club – that's his ideal thing when he retires," Bellamy said.
"Hopefully he can do that at our club when his time comes. I'm not sure when that is, as we haven't really spoken about playing on.
"But he's a really special part of this club and been playing consistently well this year."