The Melbourne Storm’s Craig Bellamy, now in his 15th year at the helm of the club, is widely regarded as one of the finest coaches in the rugby league world.
The former Canberra Raiders player chalked up 148 first-grade matches with the Green Machine before tapping into coaching in 1993.
He masterminded Melbourne’s 23-16 victory over Parramatta in the 2009 NRL decider to add to his 2007 grand final success when his team defeated Manly 34-8 – titles later taken from the club because of salary cap breaches.
But Bellamy again revealed his awesome coaching credentials when the Storm clinched the 2012 grand final with an emphatic and clinical display against minor premiers, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, taking out the decider14-4. Minor premiers Storm reached the 2016 grand final, only to be pipped at the post by the Cronulla Sharks.
Following the salary cap dramas and the subsequent forced departure of several key players, it was left to Bellamy to rebuild the Storm.
Winning the 2012 title was a grand result for the club, with Bellamy’s contribution rightly and comprehensively acknowledged by the rugby league world.
Once he retired from playing in 1992, Bellamy set his sights on succeeding as a coach.
He joined the Raiders coaching staff immediately as President’s Cup coach and, after guiding the team to a premiership in 1995, was appointed the club’s strength and conditioning and reserve grade coach (1996) and first-grade assistant coach to Test great Mal Meninga (1997).
He moved to Brisbane in 1998 as first grade assistant coach to Wayne Bennett and earned widespread acknowledgement for his contributions to the Broncos’ grand final triumphs in 1998 and 2000.
In 2003, Bellamy was appointed head coach of the Melbourne Storm.
Three years later the Storm, after having won the minor premiership by a record eight points, progressed to the grand final, only to be beaten 15-8 by the Broncos. The following year (2007) the Storm made amends in devastating fashion, whipping the Manly Sea Eagles – after again claiming the minor premiership title.
For his efforts, Bellamy was named the Sydney Morning Herald’s 2007 Coach of the Year. In selecting Bellamy, the newspaper recorded that the Storm coach “is everything he was as a player – known for his passion, dedication and commitment”.
Craig Bellamy, who was the NSW Origin coach in 2008 and 2009, Australian Kangaroos assistant coach in 2005 and 2006 and NSW Country Origin coach from 2005 to 2007, is contracted to the Melbourne Storm to the end of the 2018 season.