While Craig Bellamy’s future at Melbourne is uncertain, he’s sure the Storm is where veteran halfback Cooper Cronk should finish his career.
Bellamy is off-contract but has a two-year extension clause while Cronk has been linked with a move to a Sydney NRL club to be closer to his girlfriend.
The coach said he would announce his plans by the end of the pre-season and was leaving Cooper’s contract negotiations in the hands of the Storm management.
But that didn’t stop him imploring the 32-year-old to stay.
“I’m not quite sure exactly where it’s at but certainly in the next couple of weeks a decision will be made and obviously we’re all really, really keen for Cooper to stay,” Bellamy said.
“He’s been a wonderful player for this club for a long period of time and I think it would be fitting if he finished his career at this club.”
Cronk took part in Storm training on Tuesday as the club prepares for their first pre-season match, against Wests Tigers on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Melbourne will field an under-strength side, missing their big three Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith as well as their Kiwi contingent who played a Test series against England late last year.
Slater, who is on the comeback from shoulder surgery, is expected to get some game time in their final trial against Canterbury on Feb 20.
Fullback Cameron Munster is sidelined for at least a month after injuring his knee during the Auckland Nines.
Bellamy said was unlikely the young speedster would be fit for their round one clash with St George Illawarra.
“That’s going to be a stretch; I think it’s going to be a bit longer than that which isn’t ideal,” Bellamy said.
“It’s bad enough but when it first happened we thought the worst.”
Munster has had a rough off-season, rubbed out of any State of Origin action for 12 months after breaking curfew during an Emerging Maroons team camp.
Bellamy said the penalty was “harsh” given Munster was a good chance to represent this season.
“But he broke the rules so he got what he deserved,” Bellamy said.