'Out of order': Storm fury over 'disrespectful' Brandon Smith act

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Melbourne Storm's Brandon Smith has been heavily criticised for declaring his intentions to join the Sydney Roosters more than 12 months before his existing contract is due to expire. Picture: The Ice Project/YouTube
Melbourne Storm's Brandon Smith has been heavily criticised for declaring his intentions to join the Sydney Roosters more than 12 months before his existing contract is due to expire. Picture: The Ice Project/YouTube

With potentially lucrative contract on offer and a myriad of NRL teams potentially in the running for his services, the future of Melbourne Storm hooker Brandon Smith has been a big story throughout the off-season.

The 25-year-old has become a hugely popular figure among fans and still has 12 months remaining on his existing deal with the Storm - but he may have given too much away in a recent interview.

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Smith has been heavily criticised for taking to a podcast declaring his intentions to join the Sydney Roosters once his current deal expires, saying 'I want to win a premiership in that jersey.'

This has resulted in heavy criticism from a number of rugby league commentators, most notably veteran rugby league writer Phil Rothfield.

He compared it to Viliame Kikau's recently being photographed in a Canterbury Bulldogs jersey as a sign of what he labelled 'highly disrespectful' act towards the Storm.

Rothfield said it would undoubtedly affect Smith season in 2022.

"I think it was highly disrespectful to his club, Melbourne Storm,” Rothfield said. “I think this is a similar situation to (Viliame) Kikau putting on a Canterbury Bulldogs jersey.

“Now, Brandon Smith is on big, big money at the Storm. He came over as a kid from New Zealand, he got the benefit of great coaching from people like Craig Bellamy, learning under Cameron Smith, (Cooper) Cronk, (Billy) Slater to become a marquee player.

“But he’s contracted there for another 12 months; he’s 16 months away from joining the Roosters, which he’s obviously going to do.

“But to start talking about winning a premiership, and his dream of doing that in a Roosters jersey, I think personally is way out of order."

Rothfield said while it was good that Smith took a generally honest approach to his interviews, it was a step too far to say he was leaving the Storm a season before he would have the chance to do so.

Smith is reportedly set to meet with the club when he returns to Melbourne later this week.

“And I think he’s got to go home this week, he’s got to tell Melbourne Storm, he’s got to have a meeting with Craig Bellamy, and I don’t think it’s going to be all that pleasant," Rothfield said.

“Brandon Smith, if he’d been a bit smarter, would have held that interview … until he told Melbourne, and then toned it down a little bit, throw in a few lines about his commitment to the Storm for the next twelve months.

“What he’s said makes me wonder if he’s trying to get out of there a year early and join the Roosters next year.

“I was really, really disappointed. He’s a great character. One of the beauties of Brandon Smith is that he tells it how it is and there are no cliches. He’s open and honest in whatever he says, but I was really disappointed.”

Brandon Smith set for icy homecoming at Storm

Melbourne gave a blunt "no comment" to AAP when asked their thoughts on Smith's involvement in the podcast, during which he gushed about their fierce arch rivals.

Smith had told YKTR Sports podcast he found the Roosters' approach to be "mind-blowing".

Smith was also wined and dined by the Roosters powerbrokers, coach Trent Robinson and club games record-holder Mitch Aubusson.

"He pretty much persuaded me with his words," he said of Robinson, after being invited to make pizza at his family home.

The Storm are upset that Smith publicly announced he had made a decision before speaking with Bellamy and club officials after promising he would give them a last chance at re-signing him.

Brandon Smith has become one of the Melbourne Storm's key players, but his short term future at the club could be in doubt. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Brandon Smith has become one of the Melbourne Storm's key players, but his short term future at the club could be in doubt. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

He has made no secret that he has been up and down the east coast spruiking himself, despite Melbourne giving him a start and moulding him into a premiership and New Zealand Test player.

The club is already in danger of losing Nelson Asofa-Solomona for the foreseeable future after his refusal to be vaccinated.

Fellow prop Tui Kamikamica is also facing police charges.

Meanwhile, the Roosters have announced another Kiwi international Joey Manu had re-signed with the club on a three-year deal.

A two-time premiership winner and key cog in their backline, Manu turned down lucrative offers from the Dolphins and the Warriors to remain with the Tricolours.

With AAP

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