Season 2021 more than footy for Bellamy

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says successful teams in the 2021 NRL season have had navigate off-field leadership issues like never before.

The Storm mentor won his sixth Dally M coach of the year award in Brisbane on Monday night.

Bellamy beat a field including veterans Des Hasler and Wayne Bennett as well as Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Penrith’s Ivan Cleary.

With the competition spending almost half the season camped in Queensland due to NSW and Victoria’s COVID outbreaks, Bellamy says success this year has been more than just leading a team on the field each weekend.

“This year is probably, I don’t know what the other coaches would say, but there’s probably a little bit more than coaching footy involved this year – more than ever,” Bellamy said.

“I sort of discovered that last year.

“I imagine the other coaches were aware of that.”

Bellamy is still coming to terms with his team’s shock preliminary final defeat to Cleary’s Panthers on Saturday, ending a season which included the minor premiership and a record-equalling 19-game winning streak.

Having spent the past two years mostly outside Victoria, Bellamy admits the time on the road has taken its toll.

“You just feel like you want to rest but at the end of the day you’ve got a job to do and so you keep going,” Bellamy said.

“I’m looking forward to a rest now and I imagine a whole heap of other players and coaches are as well.”

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