Storm super-coach Craig Bellamy has opened up on the Warriors pursuit of his services last year, saying talks to relocate to Auckland ''never really got off the ground.''
Following the axing of former Warriors coach Brian McClennan last August, rumours swirled for months on who would be the man holding the clipboard at Mt Smart Stadium in 2013.
Bellamy's name was prominently linked to the Warriors, but the Storm coach, whose third-placed NRL side take on the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday, has confirmed a move wasn't likely - due to his contract in Melbourne.
Bellamy and his agent John Fordham met with Warriors officials, led by chief executive Wayne Scurrah, a week after last year's NRL Grand Final on September 30 last year - which saw the Storm beat the Bulldogs 14-4 in Sydney.
''It never really got off the ground, to be quite honest,'' he told Fairfax Media this week.
''I met with the hierarchy from the Warriors and they wanted a coach to start this year . I was still on contract with the Melbourne Storm until the end of this year.
''Basically the moons didn't align. I certainly wasn't going to break a contract here. They needed a coach to start this year; it never really got to any serious stage.''
It was suggested that the Warriors, who eventually signed former Panthers and Raiders coach Matt Elliott on October 12 last year, offered Bellamy in excess of a million dollars a year to join the club.
Leaving the Storm with a year remaining on his contract was never an option Bellamy said, even though he admitted the Warriors came at him ''hard.''
''They were keen and I was very keen to listen to them too,'' he said.
''But I had a year to go here and they needed a coach this year. It really didn't go much further than that.
''There was a lot in the papers before that but I didn't speak to anyone until after the Grand Final. I just wanted to concentrate on the Storm at that time.
''I met them after the Grand Final, but at the end of the day, they needed a coach at the end of the year and I had a contract.''
Also linked to the Dragons over the off-season, Bellamy, who has coached in Melbourne since 2003, put pen to paper to stay at the Storm until the end of the 2016 season.
It is understood that Bellamy's annual salary will be well in excess of A$1 million a year for the final three years of his new contract.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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