Melbourne Storm NRL coach Craig Bellamy wants Cameron Smith’s playing future cleared up as soon as possible.
Melbourne Storm NRL coach Craig Bellamy will have enough headaches for round one without having to worry about skipper Cameron Smith’s playing future.
The Brisbane Broncos are reportedly keen to offer the 30-year-old Test captain the biggest contract in league history, but the latest speculation suggests the Storm hooker could be staying put for 2015.
Bellamy has warned Smith that dragging the issue into the 2014 season could become a pain for all concerned.
“I’ve had a couple of chats with him since he’s been back into training,” Bellamy told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’d like to think that we’re a little bit more confident. But I don’t think there’s any decision in the near future.
“Hopefully it won’t take too long.
“I don’t think he’s actually made a decision on what he’s doing. We’ll need to keep working hard at that.”
Asked if he wanted the issue finalised before Manly host the Storm at Brookvale Oval in round one on March 8, Bellamy added: “I’m hoping that. It would be ideal to get it over and done with.”
He said: “I wouldn’t imagine he (Cameron) wants to be taking anything into the season. Speculation like that, (you’re) always going to get sick of people asking ‘what are you doing?’.
“But no one’s put a time frame on it.”
Bellamy also faces an anxious wait on wing Matt Duffie who is set to play in the Storm’s opening trial game against Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on Saturday.
“We’re all going to be pretty nervous about it,” Bellamy said.
“It’s horrific what he went through last year to have a knee reconstruction and a shoulder reconstruction within six weeks of each other.
“It’s a lot of painful experience. He has put in a lot time and effort and blood sweat and tears.
“We’ve all got our fingers crossed on Saturday.
“The medical staff said he’s right to go.
“He’s going to be a really important player in our team.”
The Storm’s big three – Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater – will be rested from the Raiders’ clash and also the Auckland Nines on February 15-16.