Smith predicts Munster to leave Storm

·2-min read

Cameron Smith fears there's worse news to follow Melbourne's early NRL finals exit with the long-time former skipper expecting star playmaker Cameron Munster to leave the club.

Munster put off a decision on his playing future until after the Storm's season was over but with Canberra eliminating them from the premiership race on Saturday night, Smith expects him to announce that 2023 will be his last in Melbourne.

A former teammate of Munster, Smith felt that the 27-year-old would have already re-signed if he was going to given the Storm had matched an offer from new entry the Dolphins.

"If I'm brutally honest, if he was going to commit to the Melbourne Storm and sign on and extend his contract, he would've done so by now," Smith told SEN radio on Monday.

"That's my gut feeling.

"He's been at the club since he was 16 years of age and we've heard (Munster's manager) Braith Anasta come out and say the Melbourne Storm offer is in the area where it should be, so what's holding him back?

"I'd love him to stay but I feel like he will be going to the Dolphins."

Munster hinted about a move back home to Queensland, where his partner is also from, in a pre-finals press conference.

A new dad, he said he had to consider what was best for his young family.

"If it was only about myself then I'd love to stay but at the same time I've got a young family that I need to worry about and obviously (Bianca) is from Queensland so we need to make sure we will make the right decision," Munster said.

Melbourne's week one exit was their worst finish since 2014 and Smith said it would be tough to cover the departure of a number of key forwards with the Bromwich brothers, captain Jesse and Kenny, and Felise Kaufusi to the Dolphins while Brandon Smith has signed with the Sydney Roosters.

"They're four premiership players and four representative players so they're losing a whole heap of experience," the retired great said.

"They are four players that are also in their starting 13 so it's a big chunk of their starting side out of this team.

"This is going to be a big challenge for the club and Craig Bellamy as coach."