© NRL PhotosStaying or going? Storm coach Craig Bellamy is poised to make a call.
Craig Bellamy is expected to end speculation about his future by the weekend in a move that will create a chain reaction in the coaching ranks.
Melbourne is the favourite to land Bellamy's signature, hopeful the $5 million deal they have tabled will thwart overtures from the Broncos. Storm officials are more confident now of their chances than when Brisbane's interest first became public, and a decision is expected well before Sunday's clash with Newcastle.
Bellamy's agent, Rod Read, said a decision isn't far away.
"We continue productive discussions and hopefully we'll have an outcome soon," Read said. "All parties are keen to get it resolved. Hopefully we can achieve that shortly.
"We said early on that the Melbourne Storm offer was a very significant offer. I stand by that. We've had some terrific discussions with them and we can move things forward and get an outcome shortly."
The Storm beat the Broncos last weekend in what many dubbed as a clash between Wayne Bennett and his potential successor Bellamy. Brisbane have promised Bennett his job is safe until his contract expires at the end of next year, meaning Bellamy would have to sit out for a season before starting at Red Hill. The other option is for the Broncos to pay out Bennett and replace him with Bellamy straight away.
That doesn't sit well with Bellamy, although there are professional and personal reasons that make a move north enticing. So too is the challenge of building on his legacy in Melbourne, particularly as stalwarts Cameron Smith and Billy Slater reach the end of their careers.
Bellamy didn't want to make a decision until he had spoken with co-owner and Crownbet boss Matt Tripp, a meeting that took place earlier in the week.
"I'm hopeful," Tripp said.
"I think we've covered all the stuff we need to cover and the ball is now in Craig's court.
"He's got to make a decision in the best interests of his family and himself and for a whole host of other reasons that are personal to him.
"I'm hoping the decision rests with the club he's grown and been such a huge part of for over a decade."
There are huge ramifications for the team that misses out. As revealed by Fairfax Media on Sunday, there is some support at the Broncos to target South Sydney mentor Anthony Siebold if they miss out on Bellamy. Seibold comes off contract at the end of 2019 - the same year as Bennett - meaning his transition could be far more seamless than Bellamy's potential switch.
The Rabbitohs are aware of Brisbane's interest and are attempting to extend his stay at Redfern after an impressive start to his NRL. Siebold's stocks are on the rise - Souths are equal premiership favourites and he can expect an upgrade whether he stays or goes. Siebold's manager, Isaac Moses, also manages Storm assistant Adam O'Brien, considered the man most likely to replace Bellamy at Melbourne at some stage.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters has long been considered Bennett's successor, but the fact he is no longer on the Broncos staff - and could fel snubbed in favour of Bellamy by Brisbane - raises question marks about his place in succession planning.