Bellamy backs Bromwich and hopes for Slater stay


Craig Bellamy would have been happy for Jesse Bromwich to stay on as Melbourne Storm captain despite allegations of cocaine use, while the coach is also hopeful Billy Slater will sign a new contract.

Bromwich will not play at the Rugby League World Cup this year after he and New Zealand team-mate Kevin Proctor were punished for their actions on a night out in Canberra following the Anzac Test defeat to Australia.

Storm prop Bromwich was also hit with a two-match NRL suspension and the 28-year-old has stepped down as Storm skipper.

But Bellamy defended his former captain ahead of the league leaders' clash with Gold Coast Titans on Saturday.

"I don't see Jesse's standing in the game or in our club has eroded one bit from this," said the Storm coach.

"We all make mistakes, you have made mistakes, I've made mistakes and this one is a big one but he has earned a lot of brownie points playing here and playing for New Zealand and not once has he been in strife.

"I don't even remember him being late for a training session or a massage or whatever. His behaviour has been exemplary here for the 10 or 12 years he has been here.

"I'm treating it like he has made a mistake and if I was picking the next captain tomorrow you would probably be looking at Jesse Bromwich."

Bellamy is also optimistic that full-back Slater will remain at the club for another year on the back of some impressive performances since his long-awaited return from injury.

"Billy would like a bit more time to think about it," he said.

"He has come back really well but he wants to make sure he wants to play another year and hopefully he and his family will make a decision that he will play on because he has had a wonderful career and we would like to extend that for another 12 months.

"Talks have begun but Billy wants some more time to have a think about whether he wants to play on, whether that is the right decision for his family, but hopefully it's a positive."