Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
After months of speculation as to where Kiwi International hooker Brandon Smith will be in 2023 one thing is now certain, he will not remain at the Melbourne Storm.
Following Smith’s appearance on YKTR’s The Ice Project where he heavily implied that he had signed with the Sydney Roosters, Melbourne’s CEO Justin Rodski put out a statement via the club’s website confirming that he will leave the club at the end of 2022.
“Recent comments made by Brandon in a podcast, and the way he expressed them, do not align with Storm’s values and the way we operate as a club,” said Rodski.
“The statements have deeply offended current and former players, coaches, staff and board members and the club strongly rejects the comments made about the Storm culture.
Melbourne Storm statement regarding Brandon Smith.
— Melbourne Storm (@storm) November 30, 2021
“We acknowledge Brandon’s apology made on social media today and his willingness now to prepare for the 2022 season with the Storm.
“Brandon has every right to explore future opportunities as any player would in his position, and ultimately we respect his decision to play football elsewhere from 2023.”
All eyes now turn to the Sydney Roosters’ website for confirmation that they have signed Smith.
Clubs will often allow the previous club of a player they have just signed to announce that said player is leaving their club before announcing their new signing at some point within the following 24 hours.
There has been speculation that the Storm were willing to release Smith from the final year of his contract to make his move to the tricolours early, but this statement all but rules that out as the club expects him back at training on the 7th of December, as the Storm looks to win their fifth premiership and their second in three years.
Smith will be replaced by current Queensland State of Origin hooker Harry Grant who was named the Dally M Rookie of the Year back in 2020.
Next year will be Smith’s sixth and final season as a player for the Melbourne Storm, the club where he became a premiership winner and an International player.