Cooper Cronk wants to see Craig Bellamy retire at the end of the season to 'enjoy the finer things in life'
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Cooper Cronk is keen to see Melbourne Storm boss Craig Bellamy call it a day on a legendary coaching career come the end of the season.
The iconic coach has spoke about retirement for many years now, as early as 2013 in fact.
However, before the 2023 season kicked off he admitted he had ‘told too many lies’ in the past but again claimed ‘it was time for the club to have a new coach’.
He told NRL 360 that he wanted to give the Storm time to find his replacement, however, he was intent on finishing up come the end of the season.
Bellamy explained: “I’m pretty sure this is gonna be my last year as a head coach. I’ll still be around the club a bit in a part-time role at the end of this year, but nothing’s really changed.
“I’m not quite sure when the club wants a definite answer but I want to give (them) plenty of time to find a new coach ... I can’t see anything changing this year as to me not retiring at the end of the year.”
The 63-year-old is in his 21st season with the club and had largely been attributed to the vast amount of success the team has achieved over the past two decades.
Melbourne will undoubtedly be a different team without Bellamy at the helm, however, a former player of his Cronk, believes it's time for him to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
The Fox League expert spoke to SPORTbible ahead of NRL Magic Round.
He said: “I’ve said that [Bellamy will retire] for the last three years but I’ve been wrong every time.
“I don’t say it because I don’t think he can coach anymore, I say it from a mate’s point of view, from someone that has been with him for a long period of time.
“Craig’s given a hell of a lot to that football club and every player that has stepped through the doors there at Melbourne Storm.
“Personally, and romantically, I’d like to see Craig move on and enjoy the finer things in life.”
There was talk of the Storm being in more of a transitionary period earlier this year after losing the likes of Brandon Smith, Felise Kaufusi, and the Bromwich brothers.
The Melbourne side had a bit of a shaky start to the season, however, have looked more commanding in recent times.
Cooper believes they’ll keep up this run of form into another finals series.
He said: “When you’ve got a spine of Harry Grant, Munster, Hughes and Nick Meaney it’s probably why they’ve found some consistency and high-level performance in recent games.
“I think they’re almost certain to be in the finals again.
“While they might have some issues at different stages, ultimately they’ll always get there and play finals footy.
“I think Craig Bellamy is still coaching as well as he ever has and so are those elite players who have been at the forefront for such a long time.”
Every game of Magic Round this week is LIVE in HD, with no ad-breaks during play on Fox League.
Featured Image Credit: NRL/Supplied.
Topics: Australia, NRL, Rugby League, Melbourne Storm