Dragons coach Steve Price’s NRL coaching career has been revived after Craig Bellamy confirmed he would stay with the Melbourne Storm.
Bellamy knocked back a deal worth more than $5 million over five years to join St George Illawarra, instead announcing he had signed a new four-year deal with an extra two-year option at the Storm.
For several weeks Bellamy considered his position, as a business consortium weighs up buying out media company News Limited’s ownership of the club.
‘‘I feel like a bit of a fan I suppose. This is my club,’’ Bellamy said.
‘‘I found that attachment too hard to break, to be quite honest.
‘‘Because it’s dragged on so long, I suppose it was starting to be a bit of a distraction for me... it was an ongoing process for a little while, probably the last 8-10 days it intensified.
It was time to make a decision.’’
Price is off contract at the end of the year, but will now have the opportunity to prove he deserves to be in the job beyond this season.
The Dragons travel to Cairns this week ahead of their first trial of the season, against North Queensland on Saturday.
The club finished ninth last year, missing the finals for the first time since 2007.
It is understood Bellamy contacted Dragons chief executive Peter Doust to inform him of his decision to stay with the Storm.
Doust said the club was still looking to fill the head coaching position for 2014.
"The Board and Management of the Dragons are continuing to undertake due diligence on the Head Coach for 2014 and are investigating a number of options," said Doust.
“While it is not usual for the Dragons to comment publicly on negotiations at the Club, Craig Bellamy was an option that we explored but it became clear that he did not wish to leave the Melbourne Storm.
“Even though we are yet to start the 2013 season, we are aware that for all parties, a firm decision for 2014 would be best made sooner rather than later, but we are not putting timeframes around such a key decision.
“We will continue to work through the options and circumstances thoroughly and will communicate when appropriate, out of respect for all associated and involved.”
Last year, the Dragons pulled out of the race to sign Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk when the asking price was bumped up to $800,000 per season.
The Mercury revealed the Dragons interest in Bellamy in October.
SEE FULL COVERAGE IN TUESDAY’S MERCURY