Craig Bellamy will continue his unmatched career as senior coach of Melbourne Storm in the 2023 NRL season after confirming today he will remain in the head coach position for at least one more year – his 21st with the club.
The news was announced to Storm’s players and staff at their Sunshine Coast camp today before they continued the preparations for the Round 11 match against the North Queensland Cowboys which will be Bellamy’s 509th game as Melbourne coach.
The master coach signed a new five-year contract with Storm in 2022 that allows him to decide each year whether he will continue in the head coach role for the following season or transition into a coaching director role.
Bellamy said the enjoyment he was having coaching the current squad of Storm players, who are second on the NRL ladder after 10 rounds, had been a key factor in his decision to continue in his role next season.
“The group we have here at the moment are a pretty exciting group and they’re an enjoyable group to work with and hang around with,” he said.
“Our staff off the field are really good people and I know how hard they work. It’s a pleasure working with them.
“I think I’ve got another 12 months to give so I’m looking forward to that next year.”
As for his future beyond 2023, Bellamy said: “We’ll just see what happens with this 12 months and then go from there.”
Storm CEO Justin Rodski said the club was delighted Bellamy would again head up the coaching team in 2023.
“There’s no doubt that Craig is still at the top of the tree when it comes to rugby league coaching,” he said.
“He is continuing to produce outstanding results week after week, season after season with the support of a very dedicated coaching and high performance team.
"He is hugely respected and loved by his players who were elated when we told them today that Craig was continuing as our head coach.
“I’m sure our members and fans will feel exactly the same way.”
Earlier this season, Bellamy became only the fourth coach in premiership history to reach the 500- game mark. He is only the second to lead the one club in 500 consecutive games.
He will become number one on the list for most consecutive games with one club should Storm make the 2022 finals series.
Bellamy took on the senior coaching role with Melbourne in 2003, leading the team to a semi-final in his first year.
Since that time Storm has played in a remarkable 18 finals series, winning the grand final on five occasions, the minor premiership seven times, and he has the best win-loss record of any coach in the NRL.
Along the journey, Bellamy has been awarded the Dally M Coach of the Year on six occasions and the Rugby League International Federation Coach of the Year twice.