Whatever happens this week, it's almost inevitable that it will signal an end to Cameron Smith's glittering career with the Melbourne Storm.
Speculation is growing that Smith will end a 19-year association with the Melbourne Storm and depart the club at season's end.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reports the club believes the champion hooker is weighing up whether to retire or sign with one of the competition's Queensland-based clubs.
The paper says Smith is highly unlikely to play another season with the Storm, who have been waiting patiently for a call from their captain on his future.
The Storm already have two of the NRL's best young hookers on their books in Brandon Smith and Harry Grant, who has enjoyed a stellar season on loan at the Wests Tigers.
Incredibly, it means the need for Smith - who is arguably the greatest hooker in NRL history - is not as pressing for the Storm in 2021.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has said the club has planned for all scenarios regarding the 37-year-old's future.
Bellamy said earlier this month they were working on two schemes for 2021: one with Smith retiring and one with him playing on, which could impact whether or not they keep emerging stars Grant and Smith, who also want to play hooker.
Smith was reportedly to announce whether he'd go around again next season at the beginning of August after being given a three-week timeframe.
However the SMH says a decision is now likely before the end of this week, with Smith due to return from a shoulder injury in Melbourne's clash against struggling Manly next Sunday.
Smith strongly linked with two Queensland clubs
Both the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans are two Queensland sides that have been heavily linked to Smith for next season.
The under-fire Broncos are perhaps the strongest candidate, and could have the cash to spend if they decide to part ways with Tevita Pangai Jr, following the forward's series of virus breaches.
Former Broncos player and TV host Ben Ikin - who has applied for the Brisbane CEO role - said he wouldn't hesitate to target signing Smith if he was in charge at the Broncos.
“(Smith’s) a franchise player and he brings a whole lot of standards and professionalism in the week leading up to games and the 80 minutes every week that you would want the rest of that squad to live every single day they walk through the door,” Ikin said.
“I’ve got to be honest with you if you’re looking for quick change it’s going to come more through good coaching and good culture than it is buying a silver bullet.
“That’s why you’d go hard for Cameron Smith because he’d solve a lot of problems in one fell swoop.”
With Smith's children currently going to school in the Gold Coast following the Storm's relocation from Victoria, the Titans have also emerged as a possible destination for the 37-year-old.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook confirmed his interest in Smith last week, insisting he is a player "any side would love to have".
“I might have a couple of days off training if I got him to the club because he is pretty good at organising the side," Holbrook said.
"He’s a great player and it will be interesting to see what he ends up doing.”