Time for Cameron Munster to come clean after Storm's NRL finals exit

Cameron Munster walks off the ground after Melbourne's finals loss to Canberra.
Cameron Munster's future will be a hot topic after tge Melbourne Storm were bounced from the NRL Finals by the Canberra Raiders. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

It's a good thing Cameron Munster has left his wild partying days behind him and won't be smashing himself on Mad Monday.

That means he will have a clear head and a clearer direction on where his career is headed when he tells the Melbourne brains trust of his next move.

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Munster needs to front coach Craig Bellamy and club powerbrokers ASAP to give them a heads up over whether he will be staying in the Victorian capital beyond 2023 or taking the big money at the Dolphins.

Munster said he wanted to wait until the Storm's season was over before re-starting negotiations and that time has come after Melbourne's loss to Canberra in Saturday's elimination final.

It was a limp exit by Melbourne's exacting standards, marking their earliest departure from the finals since 2014 on the back of their first finish outside the top four in eight years.

Jesse and Kenny Browmich, Felise Kaufusi and Brandon Smith have played their last game in purple and Bellamy is about to enter the final year of his extraordinary coaching career.

The Storm are at the crossroads of the greatest change in their 25-year history.

Melbourne's obituaries have, of course, been written before and plenty of us have been made to look like idiots come September.

This time there's a different feel.

The Storm remain a competitive football side – and always will be under Bellamy - but this year they showed vulnerability, albeit not aided by a lengthy injury list.

They no longer intimidate like they did when the team was sprinkled with genuine superstars of the game.

Losing the Bromwich brothers, Kaufusi and Smith strips off further layers of armour.

Melbourne Storm facing exodus after brutal NRL Finals exit

Bellamy knows it, almost chocking up on Saturday night when discussing the impact the four have had on the club, not only on the field but off it as well.

They all became leaders, standard bearers. Players other players wanted to follow.

That's why Storm need a decision from Munster ASAP. They need to know if he's the man to plan a re-build around or whether they need to need to enter the property market and seek a like-for-like replacement.

The 27-year-old insists he will be there next year but it promises to be a holding pattern type season for Storm if their best player is signed, sealed and awaiting delivery to the Dolphins in 2024.

Cameron Munster and Storm teammates are dejected after losing to Canberra in the NRL Finals.
Cameron Munster has been non-committal about his future with the Melbourne Storm amid speculation he could jump ship to the Dolphins. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Munster looks to have one foot out the door, if his comments prior to the elimination final are a decent guide.

"If it was only about myself then I’d love to stay, but at the same time I’ve got a young family that I need to worry about and obviously she’s (Munster's partner Bianca) from Queensland, so we need to make sure we will make the right decision," he said.

"I've spoken to (chairman) Matt Tripp and the club and I’m going to put a hold on negotiations until the final series is done."

The saga has dragged on long enough.

It's time Melbourne was given an answer.

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