The Melbourne Storm have received a welcome boost on the eve of their opening game of the 2004 NRL season, with coach Craig Bellamy re-signing for a further three seasons.
Bellamy, who took the Storm to the top eight in his first crack at the top grade last season, announced the decision to extend his contract this morning.
He says it�s important to give players, supporters and sponsors stability, hence the length of the deal.
�I�ve only been here 12 months and while it�s been a really tough gig down here in a frontier land for rugby league - we don�t get too much handed to us - the players are a really good bunch of guys and a very hard working group,� Bellamy said.
�We�ve got a few players coming off contract this year and there�s a few guys there that we want to sign up as soon as possible.
�It�s important for the club to keep those players and that�s what we�ll be trying to do now.�
Bellamy�s family still lives in Brisbane, and won�t be coming down to Melbourne for at least another two years - when his daughter finishes her Higher School Certificate.
�... they (family) have been supportive all along and this has been no different,� Bellamy said.
�I spoke with the kids to make sure they were still comfortable with the arrangement, it�s not ideal but that�s the way it is at the moment.�
Bellamy was dogged by constant rumours last season that a return to the Brisbane Broncos - possibly as a replacement for Wayne Bennett - was on the cards. But he says it was never going to happen.
�The stories just kept being brought up all the time and there was no foundation to it,� Bellamy said.
�I kept telling everyone that I had never been approached by the Broncos, and I hadn�t, so I don�t know where it was coming from. In the end it became a little bit embarrassing for everyone involved but I guess it made a good story for some people.�
The news of Bellamy�s re-signing is a welcome boost for the Storm, who have been handed their fair share of bad news recently, including the departure of John Ribot, the retirement of Robbie Ross and sexual assault allegations levelled against two players.