Rugby league coaching legend Wayne Bennett is not surprised Craig Bellamy has rejected the Warriors to remain at NRL premiers Melbourne next season.
Bennett, one of eight sporting luminaries inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in Melbourne on Thursday, says the Storm’s talent and success under Bellamy make club and coach a perfect fit.
Former Penrith coach Matthew Elliott is expected to be appointed at the Warriors on a two-year deal later this week after Bellamy said no to a move across the Tasman.
Bellamy spent five years as Bennett’s assistant in Brisbane before taking over the Storm in 2003.
He has one more year on his Storm contract but his future remains unclear beyond the end of next season.
However, Melbourne officials have made it clear they want him to stay.
“Craig’s a pretty smart bloke. When he’s got the talented players he’s got here, the success he’s had here, it’d be pretty hard to leave and I don’t know why he’d want to leave,” Bennett said.
“They (the Storm) would be silly to lose him.”
Newcastle coach Bennett, a seven-time premiership winning coach recognised as the best of his generation, was inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside another Knights legend – former star Andrew Johns.
For Johns, it is his second individual honour in the space of a fortnight after he became a rugby league Immortal late last month.
Other Hall of Fame inductees are cricket legend Adam Gilchrist, former Oarsome Foursome rower James Tomkins, Olympic cyclist Kathy Watt, ex-Wallaby flyhalf Stephen Larkham, former South Melbourne Australian rules player and international cricketer Laurie Nash and sports administrator Malcolm Speed.
All had their plaques unveiled at Melbourne’s National Sports Museum, before being officially honoured at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame dinner on Thursday night.