Bellamy bombshell: Storm coach in secret Broncos talks
The Broncos are in secret talks with Craig Bellamy in a move that would see the Melbourne Storm supercoach team with Kevin Walters to lead a Red Hill revolution.
News Corp can reveal Broncos bosses and Bellamy have been in high-level negotiations for the past month with the Storm mentor seriously considering quitting Melbourne to be Brisbane's coaching director from 2022.
Under the plan, Walters would replace Anthony Seibold as Broncos head coach, with Bellamy to oversee the club's coaching direction and football operations.
The prospect of Bellamy leaving Melbourne to spearhead a revival of the crisis-torn Broncos - in tandem with Walters - would be a crippling blow for the Storm.
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The Broncos are ready to offer Bellamy a five-year deal, worth around $5 million, to rebuild Brisbane and implement the type of culture that has made Melbourne a 17-year superpower on his watch.
Bellamy has rejected the Broncos three times, first in 2009 when Ivan Henjak was a Plan B choice, then in 2011 when Anthony Griffin was given the reins and finally two years ago when Brisbane failed to poach him as Wayne Bennett's successor.
But this time, the Broncos are confident it's fourth-time lucky.
Brisbane powerbrokers believe he will be in Broncos colours from 2022 as part of an alliance that would see Walters installed as head coach with Bellamy running football operations as culture chief.
Bellamy has not agreed to terms or signed a Broncos contract at this stage. But the Storm are aware of Brisbane's poaching raid, with Bellamy having politely advised Melbourne bosses of the Broncos' latest overtures.
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"I'm not sure what Craig will do," Tripp said.
"I am prepared to design a similar role for Craig in 2022 and beyond in terms of what the Broncos would be offering."
Bellamy is contracted to the Storm until the end of next year. He turns 61 on Saturday week and it is understood a recent health ordeal involving his family has Bellamy weighing up the benefits of a move to Queensland.
Bellamy's daughter and grandchildren live on the Gold Coast and he regularly spends the summer months holidaying on the glitter strip.
Bellamy had five seasons at the Broncos as Wayne Bennett's assistant between 1998-2002. Ironically, it was Walters' recommendation to Bennett that saw Bellamy brought to Red Hill.
Walters was an assistant to Bellamy for three years at the Storm and the pair have been friends for 30 years going back to their playing days at Canberra.
Now Walters and Bellamy could be sensationally reunited at the Broncos.
Speaking to News Corp on Wednesday before news of Brisbane's furtive approach emerged, Bellamy revealed he would not rule out returning to the Broncos.
"I'd never say never about anything to be quite honest," he said.
"I have knocked back a role there (at the Broncos) on a couple of occasions, but in those separate times I felt it was the best thing for me and for the Melbourne Storm.
"But I'd never say never to anywhere if anyone is interested.
"It would have to be a role that is not as full-on as a head-coaching role.
"Who knows what it is going to happen. As this year has shown, you expect anything and expect nothing."
The Broncos have maintained contact with Bellamy since he declined their head-coaching offer in 2018 to ink a three-year extension at the Storm.
The fresh approach ramped-up last month when a third-party associate reached out to Bellamy following the resignation of Broncos coach Seibold.
The Broncos and the Storm coach have since had a number of strategic discussions about Brisbane's vision to reprise their glory days.
Bellamy has been up front with Storm hierarchy about the talks.
The Broncos board have made it clear they want a beefed-up coaching arsenal next year and Bellamy would be the perfect figurehead to rebuild Brisbane's battered culture.
There is a view the relentless, no-nonsense work ethic of Bellamy would perfectly complement the affable style of Walters, who is respected and liked by Broncos players.
Bellamy has led Melbourne to seven grand finals and four premierships, two of which were stripped in 2007 and 2009 due to the club's salary-cap scandal.
Should Bellamy ultimately resign from the Storm, who will also lose assistant coach Jason Ryles to Eddie Jones and England rugby union, it could prove a seminal moment in Brisbane's quest to fight back as a premiership powerhouse.
Originally published as Bellamy bombshell: Storm coach in secret Broncos talks