Bellamy says doubts about NRL player swap

Melissa Woods
Paul Momirovski's player swap from the Wests Tigers to the Melbourne Storm appears in jeopardy

Melbourne's landmark player trade with Wests Tigers has hit frustrating NRL "roadblocks", according to Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

Melbourne were looking to do a one-season swap of their promising young hooker Harry Grant for Tigers centre Paul Momirovski.

With captain Cameron Smith and feisty Kiwi Brandon Smith ahead of Grant, the Storm wanted to give the 21-year-old, who has played two first grade games, more experience.

They are light on outside backs while the Tigers need more depth at No.9 after the retirement of Robbie Farah and an injury to Jacob Liddle.

Momirovki had visited Melbourne while Grant was also keen to get the deal done, but Bellamy said on Thursday that he was unsure it would happen.

"I'm not quite sure where it is at the moment," he said.

"It appeared to be a simple thing to me and the two clubs and two players were very happy for it to happen for 12 months, but there's been a fair few roadblocks put up by the NRL."

The deal, which has the blessing of the Rugby League Players' Association, requires the clubs to terminate the players' existing contracts and for them to sign 12-month deals with their new clubs identical to those they were on.

However, it has hit a salary cap hurdle with what the players have already been paid this year counting in this year's cap, with the NRL contracting model not set up to cater for such a loan arrangement.

"It's a bit frustrating but at the end of the day we'll keep moving on if it comes to nothing," Bellamy said.

Melbourne spent two weeks in camp in Geelong in January with the focus on building combinations, particularly in the centres following the departure of Will Chambers (Japan rugby) and Curtis Scott (Canberra).

Bellamy said they also discussed their disappointing finals capitulation after winning the minor premiership.

"We touched on that but we also revisited other things that happened through the year," he said.

"We just don't throw all the good stuff out.

"It certainly wasn't all about that but it got mentioned a couple of times. Now we're basically focused on what we need to do this year so hopefully we can follow those plans through."