Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith looks to have turned his back on Brisbane to play out his NRL career with the Storm.
Smith appeared certain to be lured to the Broncos on a multi-million dollar deal but Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is now optimistic his captain will stay put.
The Australian skipper is tipped to make an announcement at the Storm family day in Melbourne on Saturday prior to their trial match against Canberra at AAMI Park.
“He hasn’t said to me ‘this has happened’ but I can just tell by the way that he’s talking to me that it looks a bit more promising than it did before Christmas,” Bellamy told SEN radio on Friday morning.
“Before Christmas I was certainly of the thought that he would be leaving but I’m thinking the other way now.”
Smith is off contract at the end of the season and it was thought that he was leaning towards moving his young family back home to Brisbane to be closer to relatives.
A holiday post World Cup, where he led the Kangaroos to victory, appears to have changed his mind and he’s decided to remain alongside his Test teammates Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
“It’s been a roller-coaster since it started,” Bellamy said.
“Hopefully that gets sorted out in the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile, new Melbourne prop George Rose has shed eight kilograms and gained a fan in coach Bellamy.
The former Sea Eagle, who signed a one-year deal with the Storm, has reaped the rewards of a gruelling pre-season and is primed for his first hit-out against Canberra on Saturday night.
Bellamy said the 30-year-old, now down to 116kg, deserved praise for his perseverance.
“As we know, George is not going to be the best trainer – he carries a bit of weight, but we have got eight kilos off him since he came to the club,” Bellamy said.
“The big thing about George is that he never gives up on anything.
“Throughout the whole pre-season it’s been really tough for him and at times he’s probably been behind a few other blokes a fair bit but he just keeps going.”
Bellamy said Rose would only be used in short stints during the season and he expected his league smarts to shine through.