Cameron Munster, 23, is arguably the game’s hottest property. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Cameron Munster, 23, is arguably the game’s hottest property. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Storm coach Craig Bellamy wants NRL compo for lost talent

MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy wants the NRL to reward clubs for developing talent when others sit back and throw big money at established youngsters.

It comes as rival clubs target playmaker Cameron Munster for a potential 2020 poaching raid.

The Storm is confident of being able to retain Munster, 23, who as recently as this week has told the club he wants to stay in Melbourne.

The Herald Sun revealed this week that Munster suspended contract talks until the end of the season to focus solely on the club's bid for back-to-back titles.

Up to seven NRL clubs, including the Bondi billionaire Sydney Roosters, are into the Rockhampton product, who would command more than $1 million a season on the open market.

The Storm has put six years into developing Munster. Picture: Colleen Petch
The Storm has put six years into developing Munster. Picture: Colleen Petch

Bellamy called for incentives or compensation from the NRL to protect clubs that developed talent.

"I'd like to see the NRL reward clubs for developing players and get a percentage (deduction from the salary cap) after they've been there a certain number of years," Bellamy said.

"If you've recruited them as young kids and developed them you should be getting a reward but every year we seem to lose players that we've recruited and developed as young people.

"They go to clubs who don't do any development and just recruit.

"It irks me, especially with Cameron, we got him as a 17-year-old and everyone's coming in with their chequebooks and he might be going."

The Storm boasts a rich history of talent identification and development.

Munster was plucked from the Queensland Cup as a 17-year-old, while premiership-winger Suliasi Vunivalu was seen playing school rugby union in Auckland.

Storm found Nelson Asofa-Solomona at a junior clinic in New Zealand, and in less than 12 months turned out-of-favour speedster Josh Addo-Carr into a premiership and NSW Origin winger.

Asofa-Solomona is also out of contract next season.

Rivals clubs have swiped eight players in the past two seasons from the Storm grand final teams, including Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris and Jordan McLean, who all went through the under-20s program.

The Storm is well placed to satisfy the Munster camp at the negotiation table.

"He's shown his worth to us with his consistency this year and also in big rep games, so everyone understands and knows what calibre of player you're going to get with Cameron," Bellamy said.

"I'd like to think that Cameron considers that we helped develop him here although he's done a lot of hard work too.

"Whatever we can do to keep him we'll be doing that."

 

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