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Bennett backs Bellamy to stick with Storm

Wayne Bennett could not see any reason why Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy would want to leave this year's NRL premier when his contract was up next year, the seven-time premiership coach said before being inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Bellamy's future has been a hot topic, with the respected coach often linked to any vacant coaching position despite being contracted to the Storm until the end of next season, and he this week turned down a big-money attempt to lure him to the New Zealand Warriors, which are believed to have now appointed Matt Elliott.

Bellamy, who led the Storm to a premiership just two years after the club was busted for salary cap cheating and stripped of two premierships, has maintained that he would remain with the Storm next season, but has been non-committal about his future beyond 2013. He has floated ideas of his next contract being his last as a head coach or possibly even taking a step away even sooner and moving into a consultant role.

Bennett coached the Brisbane Broncos for two decades before taking St George Illawarra to a premiership in 2010 and then moving to Newcastle on a big-money deal.

Bennett, who had Bellamy as an assistant at the Broncos for five seasons, said he did not know why he would want to coach at any other team than the Storm, where he has a close bond with the players, particularly the leadership group in Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Ryan Hoffman.

"I think Craig is a pretty smart bloke and when he's got the talented players that he's got here and the success he's had here it would be pretty hard to leave," Bennett said. "I don't know why he would want to leave here and they would be silly to lose him."


Bennett was among eight people who this afternoon unveiled the plaques on the honour roll at the National Sports Museum before being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The other inductees are: Adam Gilchrist (cricket); Kathy Watt (cycling); James Tomkins (rowing); Andrew Johns (rugby league); Stephen Larkham (rugby union); Laurie Nash (Australian football and cricket); and sports administrator Malcolm Speed.

At the plaque-unveiling ceremony held at the MCG, Gilchrist said he was honoured to earn a place on the roll.

"In sport no one sets out with an end-goal of being awarded this sort of honour, you set out because you love what you do. You're passionate about it, everyone was very committed and made a lot of sacrifices but gee, it was a lot of fun along the way too," Gilchrist said.

"To be given this honour is great and believe me I intend on having a fun night celebrating this tonight."

Watt had a simple message when asked about the deepening drugs controversy surrounding Lance Armstrong, after the US Anti-Doping Agency released a 1000-page report into the disgraced American cyclist.

"Don't do drugs. Do sport clean and you'll be fine," she said.