Storm coach Craig Bellamy was reportedly set to make a shock call on his career six weeks ago until he received a phone call from rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns.
Bellamy signed a five-year extension in 2021 that allows him to decide each season whether he will continue as head coach or move into a coaching director role.
The club announced on Wednesday that Bellamy had committed to being coach again in 2023, however News Corp reports his decision almost went the other way.
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“Joey Johns rang me about a month ago,” Bellamy told News Corp.
“I reckon then I was ready to go the other way. But he made a couple of points to me that I hadn’t really thought of, a couple of his experiences.
“He was the one who swung me the other way. He just gave me his opinion and it struck a bit of a chord. It’s not as if I speak to him every two weeks — more like once or twice a year. It came out of the blue.
“He wanted to make a point — his experience with his career.”
News Corp journalist Brent Read recalled the “really interesting story” on NRL 360 on Wednesday.
“I spoke to them and they wouldn’t go into the details about the conversation, but needless to say Craig got off the phone and thought ‘I’m going to go round again’. So the Storm probably owe Joey a beer or two,” he said.
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Johns told News Corp that Bellamy would have been “mad” to retire and believes he’s in the “top three” coaches of all time.
“You talk about the best coaches ever and he is in the top three,” he said.
“What he has done with that club — the club has totally reinvented itself two or three times.
“Other clubs lose champions and they just go into a hole. When you talk about best coaches, he is in the argument as the best ever.
“I pretty much said you are crazy if you finish up, you have so much to offer. Oh well, I have done something right lately.
“It is good — he should just keep going.”
While Bellamy ultimately decided to stay on as head coach, he did reveal what almost made him hang up the clipboard.
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“I am 63 — I will be 64 at the end of the year — I just don’t want to be too old to be able to enjoy life a bit.
“I don’t think I am going to be a traveller. I have four grandkids now and I love spending time with them. With this job, even with three of them living in Melbourne, I don’t get to see them that much.
“Not having to get up every morning and be thinking about footy and handling the team today, trying to get over the disappointment or elation of the weekend, I was just looking for a different lifestyle.”