Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy hopes captain Cameron Smith will reject Brisbane’s expected godfather offer.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy wants captain Cameron Smith to make a decision “as soon as possible” on his future beyond next NRL season.
He expects Smith will start turning his mind to the issue following his return on Wednesday after leading Australia to World Cup triumph in Britain.
Brisbane are expected to make a huge offer to lure Smith back to his home state when his current contract expires after 2014.
But Bellamy is hopeful that the 30-year-old hooker will stay with the Storm where he’s spent 12 fruitful seasons since his 2002 NRL debut.
“It’s hard to imagine Cameron Smith not playing in purple in club footy,” Bellamy said on Tuesday.
“What he’s done for this club and what he’s done for the game has been simply outstanding.
“It just seems hard for me to see Cameron Smith playing in the NRL in a different jersey than ours.”
Bellamy said he’d spoken to Smith a couple of times about his playing future but he noted that the World Cup campaign meant he hasn’t had much time to consider it since the end of the NRL season.
“It’s going to be a big decision for him and we’re very respectful of that,” Bellamy said.
“He’ll need a bit of time to think about it, because he hasn’t had too much of a rest from footy to do that.
“He has a chance now to have a good think about it.
“We’d like that decision as soon as possible so we can plan from there.”
Bellamy rejected a big offer from St George Illawarra in February to stay at Melbourne and admitted the bond with his players – who have won premierships and been through the salary cap scandal together – was a key part in that decision.
“I would have found it really hard emotionally to break the ties here, because I’ve been here so long.
“We’ve been through a lot here, obviously ups and downs.”