Melbourne Storm half-back Jahrome Hughes has confidence whoever coaches the club after this season will be well-versed in the club’s ways.
Hughes shocked many in the NRL when he turned down lucrative offers from the New Zealand Warriors to sign a three-year deal to remain with the Storm.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy keeps an eye on training during preparations for this season.Credit:Getty Images
Teammate Brandon Smith suggested Hughes had left $200,000 on the table in not taking up the Warriors’ offer, with Hughes and his partner Molly wanting to remain in Melbourne where he has played for the past four seasons after arriving as a depth player before emerging as a star half-back.
The 26-year-old New Zealand international cast a calm, happy presence on Sunday ahead of the new season and some in the NRL world believe Hughes received assurances on who would coach the team in 2022 if Craig Bellamy doesn’t continue in the role.
Bellamy has said this could be his last year coaching the Storm but he has yet to confirm his plans as offers have come in from several clubs to be a coaching director or consultant.
“That is one of the things I tried to get when I was negotiating my contract, I didn’t need to know who was going to coach but I wanted to know if they would be from inside these walls or been with Melbourne before,” Hughes said.
“I think that’s a big thing because I trust in the club and the people around here. It’s one of the big reasons why I wanted to stay.
“We don’t know who the coach is but if they get the person they want to get then I trust they will do the job and I will be happy playing under them.”
Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith after last year’s grand final win. Credit:Getty Images
A number of former and current Bellamy assistant coaches have been connected with the role, including Jason Ryles who has recently been working with Eddie Jones and the English rugby team although that work was interrupted by the lockdown in the United Kingdom.
Long-time Storm football director Frank Ponissi has also re-signed until the end of 2024, adding stability to any transition.
Hughes said he tried to broach the topic with Bellamy himself. “Before I re-signed I tried to get in there and ask what he was doing but I went into his office and he told me to ‘get the swear word out of here’,” Hughes said with a laugh. “So I don’t know what he is doing.”
The Storm will have legend Billy Slater back at the club on Wednesday for the unveiling of Slater and Cameron Smith statues outside AAMI Park.
The two statutes, first announced in 2018, have been erected in the past week and sit prominently along Olympic Boulevard between the city side of AAMI Park and Collingwood’s training base of the old Olympic Park ground where the Storm previously played.″
Storm champion Billy Slater.Credit:NRL Photos
Smith is reported to be joining the festivities but the Storm have yet to lock in his attendance or whether he will speak, given he has yet to announce his plans for 2021.
The Storm have progressed under the plan that Smith won’t be returning and have Brandon Smith set to start at hooker in Thursday’s NRL season-opener against South Sydney Rabbitohs while Harry Grant is out injured.
The Storm may also be without premiership and Queensland centre Brenko Lee who is battling to recover from a hamstring injury in time to take his place and didn’t complete training on Sunday.
The Storm have used winger Reimis Smith at centre in place of Lee and veteran George Jennings in the wing spot Smith was expected to fill, but teenager Dean Ieremia is also in consideration for that wing spot after scoring a try during the club’s trial game against Newcastle Knights.
Melbourne Storm play South Sydney Rabbitohs at AAMI Park on Thursday at 8.05pm AEDT.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article