Bellamy signs long-term Storm extension

Craig Bellamy's storied coaching career will extend to a 20th season in charge of Melbourne with the champion NRL mentor signing a long-term deal to stay at the club.

After a drawn out negotiation process and speculation he would finish his head coaching career this year, Bellamy has knocked back big-money deals from Brisbane and Cronulla to remain with the Storm.

The five-year extension leaves the door open for Bellamy to continue his coaching career beyond next season, although he will eventually transition into a director of football role.

"There have been a lot of moving parts on and off the footy field, but it's good to have finality on the decision," the 61-year-old Bellamy said.

"I will be the head coach next year and then I will sit down with the club at the end of each year and talk about what role I might play.

"At some time during this period, I will take on a different role in coaching and in the commercial area.

"This is my 19th year and there have been some wonderful times over that period. Having the comfort in the surroundings and knowing how the club works certainly helped in making my decision.

"I really enjoy working with this group of players and staff. It's a typical Storm group in that they work hard and have great care in what they do and great care for the club."

The decision has been 12 months in the making as Bellamy took time to consider whether he would continue coaching, transition into an off-field role or switch clubs.

It comes as a huge boost for the Storm as they prepare for a top-of-the-table clash with Penrith on Saturday night.

The importance of the three-time premiership-winning coach has never been clearer than this season after the retirement of Cameron Smith at the start of the year.

Even without the most influential and experienced player in the game, the Storm are seemingly untouchable in 2021.

They head into Saturday's game on a club-record equal 15-game winning streak and hold the record for most points scored across the first 17 rounds of an NRL season.

"Craig is one of the most respected and regarded coaches, not just in rugby league but in world sport," Storm chief executive Matt Tripp said.

"We see the influence he has as a coach and as a mentor and leader for our players, coaches and staff which makes him one of the most sought-after people in the game.

"Craig has shown an amazing ability to adapt over the years, having coached some of the best players the game has seen under very different circumstances and very different football eras."