Melbourne’s search to replace coach Craig Bellamy continues as Adam O’Brien re-signs with the Knights

Melbourne’s search for Craig Bellamy’s replacement continues after ex-Storm assistant Adam O’Brien re-signed as the Newcastle Knights coach for a further two seasons.

O’Brien had been linked to the Storm as Bellamy weighs up his next career move post 2021 at potentially Brisbane or Cronulla in a coaching director role.

As tempting as a return to Melbourne’s successful system would be for O’Brien, he said he feels like he is building something special in Newcastle.

It’s why he has committed to the Knights until at least the end of the 2024 season.

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The Batemans Bay product has brought a deep understanding of the game and new level of professionalism to Newcastle, with his influence reaching every area of the club’s operations.

With his future now secure, O’Brien said he was excited to build towards a sustained period of success for the Knights.

“I’ve been really pleased with our overall progression since I joined the club back in November 2019,” O’Brien said.

“We identified key areas to strengthen, we developed a strategy to make that transition and then targeted the right people to execute those plans.

“I’m really pleased with the people we have under the roof.

“We’ve brought in several key staff members to complement our existing team, some great recruits, and key retentions. And we have an ongoing strategy designed to ensure our list remains highly competitive. I’m really proud they chose us.”

Adam O’Brien was an option to replace Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm before he committed to Newcastle for two more seasons. Photo: Mike Owen/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

O’Brien arrived at the Knights ahead of the 2020 season, following a 12-year stint at the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.

His impact was instant, winning his first two games and clinching the signature of representative forward Tyson Frizell last year before COVID-19 brought the competition to a halt.

O’Brien feels like Newcastle is also the perfect location for his family.

“From day one, Sharyn and I knew Newcastle was for us – it’s like where we both grew up on the south coast of NSW,” he said.

“We were a good fit for Newcastle, and Newcastle is a good fit for us.

“We both love the community, we enjoy life outside of work and this extension allows us to bed down our new home and build deeper roots.”

Knights CEO Philip Gardner said securing O’Brien’s services long-term was a crucial step in building a successful future.

“Adam is an outstanding coach and an outstanding person, and everyone at the Club is delighted that he will be our Head Coach for a further two seasons,” Gardner said.

“This is an ideal outcome for everyone, it provides great personal security for Adam and his wife Sharyn and it means that we can continue to build the foundations required for the Club to be consistently successful.

“Adam’s continued growth and evolution as a coach confirms he is the right person to lead the Newcastle Knights now and into the future.

“We are absolutely thrilled to know that he will be here until at least 2024, and hopefully many more years after that.”

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