Craig Bellamy (rugby league)

Craig Bellamy (born 3 October 1959) is an Australian professional rugby league football coach who is the head coach of the Melbourne Storm in the NRL and a former player.

Craig Bellamy
Bellamy in 2010.
Personal information
Born (1958-10-03) 3 October 1958
Portland, New South Wales, Australia
Height175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Playing information
PositionCentre, Five-eighth, Lock
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1982–92 Canberra Raiders 148 46 0 0 184
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2003 Melbourne Storm 453 311 2 140 69
Years Team Gms W D L W%
200507 Country Origin 3 1 0 2 33
200810 New South Wales 9 2 0 7 22
As of 1 October 2019
Source: [1][2][3]

He has previously coached the New South Wales State of Origin team. Bellamy started his coaching career as assistant coach to Wayne Bennett at the Brisbane Broncos. He also writes a column for The Australian.[4]

Bellamy played his entire NSWRL premiership career with the Canberra Raiders during the 1980s, and 1990s. In Canberra he played under the coaches Don Furner (1982–87), Wayne Bennett (1987), and Tim Sheens (1988–92). Injury midway through the 1987 season saw Bellamy miss the Raiders charge to their first ever Grand Final appearance which resulted in an 18-8 loss to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Bellamy played from the bench in Canberra's 18-14 win over Penrith in the 1990 Grand Final at the Sydney Football Stadium.

After a coaching apprenticeship as Wayne Bennett's assistant at the Brisbane Broncos, which included a win over the Wests Tigers with the "Baby Broncos" when Bennett and the teams stars were away on State of Origin duty. Bellamy was appointed head coach of the Melbourne Storm for the 2003 NRL season. There he has achieved great success; winning the 2007 Grand Final over Manly and the 2009 Grand Final over Parramatta, though both of these were later stripped due to extensive salary cap breaches. He also led the Storm to the minor premiership in 2011, and won his first legitimate premiership as a coach in 2012 when the Storm defeated the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. He was the coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team until he was sacked in 2010, the same year as the Storm's salary cap scandal, after three unrelenting seasons of disappointment which netted only two wins from nine matches. He won his second recognised NRL premiership as coach with the Melbourne Storm after a dominant 2017 season in which the Storm lost only four games. In 2018 the Storm had a successful year making it to the 2019 NRL Grand Final before being beaten by the Sydney Roosters

He has yet to coach a losing NRL season, maintaining a better than 50% win/loss ratio for each season he has coached.


Bellamy was born 3 October 1958 in Portland, New South Wales, Australia.

Playing career

He played his early junior football for Portland Colts. Bellamy also played for Oberon Tigers in the Country Rugby League as a teenager before moving to Macquarie United in the Newcastle Rugby League in 1979.

The Canberra Raiders signed Bellamy in their début season, 1982. He played the majority of his career in the centres but was also used as a utility player, appearing at times as fullback, winger, five-eighth and lock. After the Raiders won the 1989 NSWRL season's Grand Final (which he wasn't selected for), Bellamy travelled with the Raiders to England for the 1989 World Club Challenge, but didn't play in the loss to Widnes at Old Trafford.

After winning the 1990 premiership with the Raiders, Bellamy spent 1991 with Turvey Park in Wagga Wagga as captain/coach in the Group 9 Competition, and also had a stint playing in England for Swinton, before returning to Canberra for one last year in 1992.

Coaching career


In 1995, Bellamy coached the Canberra Raiders' President's Cup team to a premiership win.[5] In 1998 he became performance co-ordinator and assistant coach to Wayne Bennett at the Brisbane Broncos. That year they won the 1998 NRL Grand final.


In 2002, when Broncos' head coach Wayne Bennett was on State of Origin duty with the Queensland Maroons, Bellamy gained NRL experience as a head coach. Forced to field a team full of young players due to the regular side's representative commitments, the 'Baby Broncos' upset the Wests Tigers. The Tigers were a leading candidate to sign Bellamy as their coach for the 2003 season, although he ultimately joined Melbourne after Mark Murray was sacked. In his third season as an NRL coach with the Storm, Bellamy started coaching the Country Origin team with a loss in 2005. His work with Wayne Bennett extended to international level when he was appointed assistant to Bennett for the Australian Test team during the 2005 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament, and was often seen 'running the water' to players on the field. Bellamy was considered a leading candidate to coach the Queensland Maroons in 2006, but his selection was opposed by many former players, including Arthur Beetson, and was ultimately vetoed due to the fact he was a New South Welshman. He coached New South Wales Country to victory and his club, Melbourne won the 2006 minor premiership and reached the 2006 National Rugby League grand final, but finished as runners-up to former mentor Bennett's Brisbane Broncos. In the post season Bellamy continued as Kangaroos assistant coach, now under Ricky Stuart for the 2006 Tri Nations series. The following season Country lost but the Storm were minor premiers and reached the 2007 NRL grand final, in which they defeated the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 34–8 to become premiers. They were however later stripped of the title by the NRL.

In April, 2008, Bellamy signed a five-year contract extension through to 2013 with Melbourne despite interest from the Brisbane Broncos.[6] This signing means that Bellamy will become the first 10-year coach in the Storm's history. After the New South Wales Blues' poor showing in the 2007 State of Origin series, Bellamy was appointed as coach for the 2008 series.[7] In his first series in charge of NSW, the Blues lost to Mal Meninga's Maroons 2 – 1. The second and third series have also resulted in series losses, therefore posing serious questions on Bellamy's abilities to coach at representative level.

During the finals campaign of the 2008 NRL season, Bellamy cost his club $50,000 after he was fined for disclosing scathing remarks and views on the NRL's decision to suspend his side's captain and goal-kicker, Cameron Smith over a controversial "grapple tackle" on Brisbane's Sam Thaiday. Bellamy claimed that the administration was corrupt and that bookkeepers already knew that Smith would be denied the opportunity to play for the rest of the season and furthermore along with Melbourne's CEO questioned the NRL's integrity in their opting to sideline Smith and not others who were guilty of committing similar tackles. This drew threats of legal action from the members of the NRL Judiciary.

Bellamy coached Melbourne to their 3rd successive NRL grand final, but could not repeat the feats of the previous year as his side suffered defeat by Manly.[8]

2009 marked the fourth consecutive year Melbourne played in the grand final under Bellamy. Melbourne also reached the top four on the NRL ladder for the fourth consecutive year. Craig Bellamy coached Melbourne Storm in their grand final win in 2009 only to be stripped of the title due to breaching the salary cap.[9]

Bellamy was named coach of the year at the 2009 RLIF awards.[10]


Bellamy left as Blues coach after the 2010 State of Origin series which resulted in a 3-0 whitewash, the first in Origin and also the Blues' first since 2000. Ricky Stuart was later named his successor. So far the Storm had not missed the finals in Bellamy's seven seasons at the helm with the exception of 2010 when they were not allowed to earn any points due to their 2009 salary cap breach. Had they been allowed to accumulate points however they would have made the top 8 again. He took them to the minor premiership in 2011, just narrowly missing out on a spot in the grand final to a loss in the preliminary final to the New Zealand Warriors. He went one better in 2012, winning the 2012 NRL grand final against Canterbury 14-4. That year he also received the Rugby League International Federation's coach of the year award for the second time.[11]

Despite speculation he would move to the Warriors or St George-Illawarra as coach, he signed a new three-year deal with Melbourne Storm in early 2013.[12] He coached the team to victory in the 2013 World Club Challenge over Leeds, earning the title of world champions. Late in the 2013 NRL season during an interview with Paul Vautin for Channel 9's "The Footy show", it was revealed that Bellamy was an electrician by trade, though downplayed it by saying that he was "not a very good one." Also during 2013 Bellamy's book, Home Truths: On Life, Leadership, Adversity, Success and Failure was published.[13]

On 16 May 2014 Bellamy reached a milestone, and created a new club record, of having coached the Melbourne Storm for 300 games.[14]

On 4 March 2016, Bellamy extended his stay as Melbourne Storm coach to the end of 2018.[15][16] Speaking on Fox Sports NRL 360, Bellamy used the phrase "to be quite honest" a record 14 times in 3 minutes.


Craig Bellamy – coaching results by season[17]
Year Games Wins Draws Losses Win % Notes
2003261601062%Lost 2003 NRL Semi Final against Canterbury Bulldogs
2004261401254%Lost 2004 NRL Semi Final against Bulldogs RLFC
2005261401254%Lost 2005 NRL Semi Final against North Queensland Cowboys
2006*27220581%Lost 2006 NRL Grand Final against Brisbane Broncos
2007*27240389%Won 2007 NRL Grand Final against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
2008*28190968%Lost 2008 NRL Grand Final against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
2009*27171965%Won 2009 NRL Grand Final against Parramatta Eels
2010241401058%Finished 16th (out of 16) due to gross long-term salary cap breaches
201126200677%Lost 2011 NRL Preliminary Final against New Zealand Warriors
201227200774%Won 2012 NRL Grand Final against Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
201326161964%Lost 2013 NRL Semi Final against Newcastle Knights
2014251401156%Knocked out in Elimination finals match by Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
2015261501158%Lost in 2015 NRL Preliminary final against North Queensland Cowboys
201627210678%Lost in 2016 NRL Grand Final against Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
201727230485%Won 2017 NRL Grand Final against North Queensland Cowboys
201827180967%Lost in 2018 NRL Grand Final against Sydney Roosters

* = Denotes season in which Melbourne Storm were in breach of salary cap


  1. RLP
  2. Rugby League Project Coaches
  3. NRL Stats
  4. Bellamy, Craig (24 September 2011). "Darren Lockyer story reflects code's steady growth". The Australian. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  5. Craig Bellamy Archived 9 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine at
  6. Stathi Paxinos (18 April 2008). "Bellamy sticks with Melbourne". Fairfax Digital. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  7. Carr, Geoff (2007). "Australian Rugby Football League Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Australian Rugby League Limited. p. 7. Archived from the original (pdf) on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  8. "Grand final: As it happened". Fox Sports. 5 October 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2008.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. Mascord, Steve; NZPA (10 November 2009). "NZRL coffers to benefit from early exit". New Zealand: APN Holdings NZ Limited. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  11. "Awards". Rugby League International Federation. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  13. Craig Bellamy with Matt Marshall (2013). Home Truths: On Life, Leadership, Adversity, Success and Failure. true: Penguin.
  14. "Cooper Cronk notches up 250 games with Melbourne Storm". TV NZ. 31 August 2014. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  15. "Purple is in my blood: Bellamy". Melbourne Storm. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  16. "Master coach to continue legacy". Melbourne Storm. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  17. "Rugby League Tables". Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-08-11.


Preceded by
Mark Murray
Melbourne Storm

Succeeded by
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