Bell sounds out big offers

FORMER Emerald rugby league player Steve Bell is preparing to make the toughest decision of his career.

The off-contract Melbourne star is one of the hottest properties on the NRL open market since the June 30 antitampering deadline.

Several clubs, including cashed-up Souths and Manly, are keen to sign the elusive centre, while he has also attracted huge offers from the Wests Tigers, Cronulla and Newcastle.

However, Manly loom as the frontrunner to secure Bell's services ? a team the former Emerald Tigers junior played for during a trial game on the Central Highlands when he was a teenager.

Bell said it was still "50/50'' whether he remained at the Storm next season.

"It's still up in the air at the moment,'' said Bell, who was only last month voted the game's most under-rated player by his peers.

"I'm talking with a couple of clubs, but Melbourne will get the last say.''

The 29-year-old has scored 58 tries in 97 games for Melbourne ahead of this weekend's round 18 clash with Canberra and was unlucky to miss Queensland selection for this year's State of Origin series.

Bell said he was hoping to announce his playing future in the coming weeks.

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