Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy believes the NRL could have done more to help the Storm retain winger Marika Koroibete.
The Fijian flyer is almost certain to announce a switch to Super Rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels from next year in the coming days.
Bellamy says the Storm did all they could to retain the 23-year-old but the deal being offered by the Rebels – with support from the Australian Rugby Union – had blown the rugby league club out of the water.
The Storm coach says while the NRL is helping clubs lure players from other codes, it doesn’t seem enough is being done to keep talent in the game.
“At the end of the day, the NRL, if we go and buy a rugby union player from somewhere, we get him on the salary cap first year for nothing,” Bellamy said.
“Here we’ve got players leaving our game to go to rugby union and we can’t get any help at all from the governing body. That seems a little bit strange to me.”
Koroibete, who has scored 39 tries in 56 NRL matches, enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 where he crossed the line 16 times as the Storm went within one match of the grand final.
But just as the ex-Wests Tigers player appears set to realise his potential, the Rebels are almost certain to lure him across to the 15-man game.
Bellamy says the fact Koroibete is heading to the Storm’s cross-town rivals adds extra sting to the loss.
“There’s so many of our fans, and so many fans of rugby league, love watching Marika play but, because of financial reasons, it looks like we’re going to lose him,” he said.
“That’s not ideal for us and it’s not ideal for our game either.
“Not only is he going to rugby union but he’s going to the Rebels, which is next door to us. Again, that’s not great for our game.”