Rugby League

Transfer Whispers: Two clubs to battle in race for Storm star, Benji hits another roadblock

The race for the prized signature of Storm hooker Brandon Smith is set to come down to two clubs due to his preference of where he wants to live.

Meanwhile Benji Marshall’s bid to play on has been delayed as clubs scramble for other players before making a call on the veteran half.

Read on for all the latest NRL Transfer Whispers.

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TWO CLUB FIRM FOR SIGNATURE OF STORM STAR

Storm hooker Brandon Smith is the hottest signing target in the NRL after being told he can negotiate with clubs beyond 2021.

The Tigers and Bulldogs are reportedly keen on his services, but Brent Read believes the Broncos and the Titans are set to fight it out for his signature for 2022 and beyond.

“I’m told by people close to Brandon Smith that he wants to be in South East Queensland,” Read said on Triple M.

“I know the Broncos are really interested in Brandon Smith and he is really interested in the Broncos.

“There was a bit going on this week behind the scenes at Brisbane. They were trying to sort out if it was a realistic proposition.

“He has got family up there and I think his parents are moving to South East Queensland. His preference is to be in South East Queensland, so that means you need to be at the Titans or the Broncos.

Brandon Smith reportedly wants to move to Queensland.Source:Getty Images

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“At the moment I think those two clubs are the frontrunners to get him.”

However the two clubs will not be trying to lure Smith to Queensland early because of what they would have to give up to get him.

“I don’t think they will get him for next year because the Storm want something in return,” Read said.

“They have got players that they can potentially swap, but I’m not sure they are overly keen on doing that.

“So I think we might have to wait 12 months, but they are the two clubs that are frontrunners to get him. Canterbury are also in the mix, but I’m told he wants to be in South East Queensland.”

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BENJI IN LIMBO AFTER SUPER LEAGUE SNUB

Benji Marshall’s decision to knock back a lucrative Super League deal could come back to bite him in his bid to continue his playing career.

Marshall has already turned down roles at the Cowboys and in the UK to remain in Sydney, but any deal at a Harbour City club won’t come until after teams settle their rosters late in the pre-season, according to Brent Read.

“This is one that is going to linger for a while,” Read said on Triple M.

“If you look at the Bulldogs they are still trying to get Matt Burton out of his deal at Penrith. Depending on what happens with Burton, Canterbury may explore the option of Benji down the track.

“But I think this is one that is going to simmer and bubble along all summer and if someone gets to late January early February or March and still have a hole to fill and Benji still wants to play, then I think he will loom on someone’s radar.

“At the moment it doesn’t look like there is a lot of options out there for him, but a lot can change over a summer.”

Benji Marshall might have a long wait to decide his future.Source:News Corp Australia

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SMITH DECISION LOOMS AFTER MEETING WITH STORM

The longest running contract saga in the NRL is expected to come to a head this week after Storm Chair Matt Tripp met with Cameron Smith about his future.

Smith looks unlikely to return to the Storm in a playing capacity and must now decide between off-field roles in Melbourne and Queensland with both the NRL and AFL or a playing contract at the Titans.

“It is close because the Storm Chair Matt Tripp was due to fly up to Queensland this weekend,” Read said on Triple M.

“I think we are very close on Cameron Smith and I think he will make a decision pre-Christmas.

“I’m told he is still a bit indecisive on it all, but that meeting with Matt Tripp this weekend should at least put to bed whether he is going back to Melbourne.

Cameron Smith is set to decide his future before Christmas.Source:Supplied

“That won’t happen. He is not going back to Melbourne to play, but I think we will get confirmation over the weekend.”

However Smith has been sounded out for positions in Melbourne’s off-field staff as well as by AFL clubs and he can still decide to play on at the Titans.

“That is on the table for Cam if he wants to be a coach or a board member,” Read said.

“There are numerous roles that Melbourne have put aside for Cameron Smith if he wants to stay involved with the club.

“He is obviously going to be based on the Gold Coast, so he has to make a decision about what he does.

“There is job offers everywhere for Cam. I think the Gold Coast Suns have approached him. The Titans there is a playing deal if he wants it there. There is a coaching role as well at the Titans if he wants it. He’s got plenty of jobs on the table to choose from.”

Originally published asTransfer Whispers: Two clubs to battle in race for Storm star, Benji hits another roadblock

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