Why would a coach join a club which has destabilised his own semi-final campaign in order to distract from their own pathetic season?
This is the question Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will ponder as he considers an offer to become coaching director of the Broncos in 2022 at a time his No.2 placed Storm prepares for the playoffs.
Craig Bellamy is again being courted by the Broncos, but the timing is not of his making.Credit:Getty
Should Walters fail in 2021, Bellamy would replace him as Broncos coach.
Furthermore, it avoids luring Wayne Bennett back to Brisbane which would be a major embarrassment for Broncos' chair, Karl Morris.
More importantly, Morris can resume the mission he was given when News Corp chief Lachlan Murdoch appointed him chair: prepare the Broncos for sale.
News owns 67 per cent of the Broncos which has a turnover of about $55m and, given its dominance in the Brisbane market, should have double the revenue.
The Broncos endured a season to forget in 2020 – Craig Bellamy signing on would allow the club to quickly move past their wooden spoon embarrassment.Credit:Getty
Its finances should be at least equivalent to the AFL's West Coast Eagles which has a turnover of about $85m and been in existence for the same 32-year period. The Eagles have also shared the market with the strong Fremantle Dockers since 1994, while the Broncos have only recently been challenged by the Gold Coast Titans.
What better way to hand a club to a new owner than with a coach of proven on-field success and off-field respectability?
After all, when News Corp decided to sell the Storm to businessman Bart Campbell in 2013, Bellamy's signature on a long-term contract was a non-negotiable condition of sale.
So, securing Bellamy would work for the Broncos but would it work for Bellamy?
It's no coincidence the speculation the Broncos are chasing Bellamy became official on the precise day the club won its first wooden spoon.
This season has exhausted him. When the Storm was relocated to the Sunshine Coast in June, the NRL said it would possibly be for a month.
But Bellamy has a radar for obfuscation and hidden agendas. He told me he fully expected to be at the Twin Waters resort with three AFL clubs until the end of the season.
Most of that time has been spent in lockdown. When NRL chief executive, Andrew Abdo, sensing the frustration of the Storm players, announced at a video conference that they would be allowed a 24-hour leave pass in the week leading up to the Cowboys match, there was a sustained, jubilant cheer.
"The reaction of the boys shocked me and I think it shocked the NRL guys as well," Bellamy told me.
Confined to that resort has meant he has worked the hours of a 7-Eleven shopkeeper, effectively coaching two seasons in one. Wife Wendy has only been free to leave Melbourne and join him these past two weeks.
He is, therefore, hardly in a position to make decisions about 2022, even apart from deciding what he would do if Walters is a success and he therefore has to busy himself with the ill-defined role of coaching director. He won't want to be coaching schoolkids at age 63.
But, after knocking back the Broncos three times since 2009, Bellamy is too polite to dismiss their overtures.
However, he also knows that distractions have derailed past Storm semi-final campaigns. This year, his enemies can't drive the media wrestling hysteria which always surfaces on the eve of the semi-finals, simply because a six-again rule has been introduced to punish ruck infringements.
This time, the destabilisation has come from a club courting him. The timing has suited the Broncos, desperate to avoid the shame of winning its first wooden spoon. Yet it has embarrassed the Storm as it prepares for the Dragons on Sunday, before most likely facing the Roosters next weekend.
It would be ironic if the Broncos' chicanery cost Brisbane its desired coach and the Storm yet another final to the Roosters.
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