The Melbourne Storm have been given an ultimatum by the logical successor to Cameron Smith, with New Zealand-born hooker Brandon Smith saying he’ll walk away from the club is his namesake plays on.
There has been plenty of speculation around whether or not club great Cameron Smith will retire at the end of the 2020 season, with the Storm holding the rights to Brandon Smith and Wests Tigers loan player Harry Grant for 2021 should the club legend hang up the boots.
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But the Smith-in-waiting has indicated to the Storm he is unwilling to wait much longer, with the New Zealand international formally requesting a release from his contract in the event Cameron Smith stays on.
Fox League reporter Yvonne Sampson brought up the topic on Fox League, with fellow panellist Michael Ennis saying Brandon Smith was looking to make an impact at hooker, despite a strong resume at dummy half.
“What Clint Gutherson brings is one Brandon Smith brings,” Ennis said.
“He brings that desire to win and Matty Johns spoke about in the jersey presentation to son Cooper that to play for the Melbourne Storm takes a certain personality and a certain human being.”
Ennis also suggested Smith had his sights set on making a State of Origin team, a prospect that would be out of reach with his superstar namesake in his way.
“Brandon Smith has done everything and above for Craig Bellamy’s side. He is a wonderful dummyhalf. He is tough, robust and he brings a lot of energy,” he said.
“If Harry Grant is also coming back there Brandon doesn’t have an opportunity to play Origin. He only plays international footy for New Zealand which presents good value in the market.”
Melbourne Storm coach walks out of fiery press conference
Craig Bellamy was ushered out of his post-match press conference after just two minutes on Thursday night after suggesting Parramatta players had ‘stayed down’ to win penalties.
Cooper Johns and Albert Vete were both placed on report for ‘crusher tackles’ in the Eels’ 14-0 win over the Storm at Bankwest Stadium.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona was also sin-binned for a high tackle on Marata Niukore, adding to the Storm’s woes with Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster, Dale Finucane, Jesse Bromwich and Suliasi Vunivalu all on the sidelines.
There were frosty scenes in the post-match press conferences, with Parramatta coach Brad Arthur denying his players had milked penalties, while Storm coach Bellamy disagreed.
When asked by a reporter if Maika Sivo appeared to “go down reasonably easy” during the Johns incident, Arthur snapped back: “What do you mean go down reasonably easy?”
“I’d have to have a look at it again but nobody’s deliberately staying down mate,” he said.
However Bellamy saw it differently.
“I suppose by the definition of whether they are (crusher tackles) or not, you do get people turn in tackles,” Bellamy said.
“I made that comment during the week. I don’t think anyone goes out there to consciously do a crusher tackle on the opposition.”
When told by another journo that Arthur said no one was staying down deliberately, Bellamy replied: “I think I disagree with Brad on that.”
In bizarre scenes, Storm football manager Frank Ponissi then pulled Bellamy out of the press conference after just two minutes, saying the team had a plane to catch.