Craig Bellamy has been contemplating when to end his illustrious coaching career for up to a decade and the Storm mentor is yet to decide whether this season will be his last, despite long-term assistant Jason Ryles joining the Sydney Roosters.
Ryles, who left Melbourne after last year's grand final defeat of Penrith to work under Eddie Jones as skills coach for the England rugby union team but has returned to the Storm in a consulting role due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, will replace former teammate Craig Fitzgibbon at the Roosters.
The former Kangaroos prop had previously been touted as a future successor to Bellamy but it is understood one of the reasons he made the move was because Melbourne could not offer him a full-time position.
Ryles will join the Roosters on a three-year deal as assistant coach from next season when Fitzgibbon takes charge of Cronulla. The Storm are yet to make an official announcement about Ryles' role.
Coincidentally, the Sharks remain hopeful of luring Bellamy to work with Fitzgibbon as coaching director and the club has not been advised that he has turned the role down.
However, NRL.com has been told that the departure of Ryles is not linked to Bellamy's future in Melbourne and the club is still unsure if the master coach will remain in his role at the Storm beyond this season.
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For Ryles, the job with the Roosters is an opportunity to return to the club he spent two seasons with as a player and work under three-time premiership-winning mentor Trent Robinson, who was an assistant coach when he joined the club in 2010 after a stint with Catalans.
It also enables the 42-year-old and his wife Alana to be closer to family in Wollongong, where they are currently under stay-at-home orders after leaving Melbourne when the lockdown in Victoria ended last week to visit relatives.
After finishing his playing career with the Storm in 2013, Ryles had been on Bellamy's coaching staff from 2016 as they plotted four grand final appearances and two premierships together.
Bellamy has taken Melbourne to nine grand finals since taking charge of the club in 2003 and Storm officials want him to stay on after rebuilding the team following the departure of Cooper Cronk and retirements of Billy Slater and Cameron Smith.
However, Bellamy has said he would wait to make a decision until the Storm were able to return to Melbourne, which they did on Tuesday after being based on the Sunshine Coast since May 14.
The uncertainty over Bellamy's future is a position that Melbourne officials are only too familiar with as the 61-year-old has been considering how long he continues to coach in the NRL since 2013.
It's an issue he publicly discussed on the eve of last year's grand final against the Panthers, telling NRL.com: "I'm pretty sure that this time next year I will be close to finishing. I'm thinking that this will be my tenure as a head coach, without a doubt".
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He admitted then, as he had previously, that the hours and work ethic required to achieve the success the Storm have enjoyed under his coaching leaves him drained by the end of the season.
"You have your ups and downs and roller-coasters," Bellamy told the Herald Sun in 2018 as he contemplated future ahead of his 400th game in charge of the Storm.
"Sometimes even now, you sort of think it might be time to retire and other times you think not."
Bellamy said as far back as 2014 that he did not intend signing an extension of his contract, which was due to expire in 2016
"I've still got a few years to go in this contract here and I think when that contract finishes, that that'll be the end of me as well," he told Triple M radio.
After receiving assurances from Melbourne officials that they wanted him to remain on, he exercised a clause for two more years and he then ended months of speculation over his future by signing a new three-year deal in June, 2018.
Bellamy indicated he would make a decision about whether to continue beyond this season within the coming weeks.