Craig Bellamy has been pegged as the man to replace Wayne Bennett, yet the Broncos and Storm might already have their next coaches on their respective books.
At least that’s according to the two legendary mentors themselves.
Bellamy is currently weighing up a three-year contract extension to stick with Melbourne but he has met with Brisbane to discuss taking over from Bennett for the 2020 season.
Both men have seen potential successors – Bellamy himself, Michael Maguire, Paul Green, Kevin Walters and Brad Arthur among them – leave for other coaching jobs in rugby league.
The latest, however, now appear the most likely to win the coveted positions.
Jason Demetriou, 42, joined the Broncos after a distinguished playing career in the Super League was followed by coaching roles in England, in the state leagues and at the Cowboys and Dragons.
Adam O’Brien, meanwhile, has been at the Storm since 2007 and Bellamy has been conditioning him for the past few years as his successor.
O’Brien won praise last season for reinvigorating Melbourne’s attack to steer them to a premiership win over North Queensland.
The Storm became only the eighth side in the past decade to score more than 600 points in a regular season, throwing off the shackles with a major attacking overhaul.
Bellamy said he wanted O’Brien to get the job should he decide to move on and also said defence coach Jason Ryles would make a successful first-grade coach.
“Adam’s at the front there and he’s done a great job for us for a long time,” Bellamy told reporters.
“I’d love to see him take over after me, whenever that is.”
Demetriou became more likely to step up to replace Bennett when Maroons coach Kevin Walters left Brisbane in April, just months after returning as an assistant.
Bennett still believes Walters could return to fill the hot seat.
But Demetriou has earned rave reviews and would offer the Broncos a smooth transition.
“It’s a huge club here, you need a coach with the best profile you can get and the best coaching ability,” Bennett said of the club chasing Bellamy.
“(But) Jason is good and Kevin Walters could do the job down the track.”
Bennett, 68, confirmed his sit-down with Broncos chief executive Paul White that led to the meeting with Bellamy also included discussions around Demetriou and Walters.
Should Brisbane fail to lure Bellamy, Bennett would seek to remain in charge beyond 2019 if he remains physically and mentally prepared.