Craig Bellamy said the bond with the players and the team that he has help build - and many credit for holding together during its darkest days - was the reason for re-signing with the Melbourne Storm until at least the end of 2016.
After months of speculation as to his future following the end of his current contract after this season, Bellamy this afternoon fronted a press conference with Storm chief executive Ron Gauci to confirm that he had turned down at least two other NRL clubs to remain with the people he felt most comfortable.
He said he made the decision to sign until 2016 on Sunday night after the pressure of making it had become a distraction to himself during the past couple of weeks.
"It obviously took a little bit of time to work things out but the main reason is I feel like a bit of a fan I suppose," Bellamy said.
"This is my club, the emotional attachment is very strong especially to the players. There's a fair few of the players who have been here a fair while - six, eight, 10 years - and I reallly enjoy working with the group of players we've got here. They're really important to me not only as a coach but as a person. At the end of the day I probably found that attachment too hard to break to be honest."
The premiership-winning NRL mentor was heavily linked with a move to St George Illawarra in 2014, but appears set to sign a long-term multi-million dollar extension which could ensure he finishes his career as a one-club coach.
Bellamy, who started his first-grade coaching career at the Storm in 2003, said he still had the desire to keep the intensity for the next four years.
"I'm still enjoying what I'm doing. I know a lot of people thought it would be a bigger challenge for me to go (because) I've achieved basically all I can here. But I don't see that at all," said Bellamy, who left open his options open after 2016.
"If you're a head coach of any elite sports team in Australia, it's a challenge every day. I've been here 10 years and that's a long time and at times had consideration of whether I had been here too long and if it's time but there's still plenty of challenges here and still things we want to achieve as a group. I suppose we've been energised by what's happened the last two years and I still want to make sure that this team is really competitive and hopefully I can play my part in that."
The Storm will fly out to Britain this afternoon for their world club challenger clash against Leeds later this month.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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