Sport NRL 2021: Craig Bellamy confirms door closed on Cameron Smith’s Melbourne Storm career
NRL All Stars 2021: How to watch, when is it, teams and live blog
The 2021 rugby league calendar is set to kick off with a bang as the Indigenous and Maori All-Stars teams face off at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. The Maori side will be looking to back up their wins from 2020, with Brandon Smith playing an integral role in the men's 30-16 victory, whilst their women's side is attempting to secure their third consecutive victory after a 10-4 win. However, the sides have been hampered by the Victorian lockdown, with several Melbourne Storm stars, including Smith and flyer Josh Addo-Carr forced to withdraw.
Craig Bellamy has confirmed there is no chance Cameron Smith will make a shock return to the Melbourne Storm in 2021.
Mystery surrounds the Storm legend’s plans for the upcoming season just 12 days out from the start of Round 1.
The veteran of 430 first-grade games for the Storm is yet to officially retire and last week admitted he still has a decision to make about his playing future .
Smith, 37, relocated to the Gold Coast following the Storm’s grand-final victory over Penrith and has been linked with both the Titans and Brisbane Broncos.
Storm CEO Justin Rodski on Thursday appeared to leave the door ajar for Smith’s unlikely return , repeating the familiar line that the club has planned for life with and without the future Immortal.
NRL 2021: Melbourne Storm in ‘constant contact’ with Cameron Smith, CEO Justin Rodski reveals
Smith is yet to make a decision on whether to retire or continue his legendary NRL career in 2021.Smith is still keeping the entire NRL community guessing over his future less than two weeks out from the start upcoming season.
But Bellamy slammed the it shut on Friday, declaring there is no chance Smith will be back in purple should he decide to put himself through a 20th NRL campaign.
“He’s moved his family up to the Gold Coast so he’s not going to uproot his family and come back to Melbourne and he’s not going to come back for the season and be away from his family,” Bellamy told Channel 9 .
Bellamy’s comments are hardly surprising, however he is the highest-ranking Storm official to declare Smith’s Storm career is done.
Smith was photographed training at a local Gold Coast ground earlier this month and was among the crowd at the Titans’ first pre-season trial match against the Burleigh Bears last weekend.
Titans head of performance and culture Mal Meninga recently confirmed the club has $550,000 in salary cap space left to spend on their final roster spot.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters has also confirmed Brisbane’s interest in the former Queensland and Australia captain.
Meanwhile, Bellamy is yet to decide on his own future beyond the upcoming NRL campaign.
The 61-year-old will hang up the clipboard at the end of the season and is weighing up lucrative offers from the Broncos, Storm and Cronulla which would see him transition into a coaching director from 2022.
“In an ideal world we’d like to make a decision eight weeks ago but that’s not where we are or where I am at the moment,” Bellamy told Channel 9 .
Storm's Bellamy delays coaching decision .
Melbourne's Craig Bellamy says he won't make a decision on his coaching future before the Storm's round one clash with South Sydney due to personal reasons.The veteran coach had planned to settle his future before round one against South Sydney at AAMI Park, with Brisbane and Cronulla both publicly declaring their interest in him as a coaching director.