Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Brandon Smith’s move to the Sydney Roosters in 2023 is all but confirmed, with the 25-year-old heavily implying that he had signed with the 15-time premiership winners when appearing as a guest on YKTR’s The Ice Project.
What many have failed to realise is that this move would result in current Roosters hooker Sam Verrills being pushed out of his role at the club and undeservedly so.
Granted he has had multiple run-ins with injury which is likely why the Roosters have gone in so hard for Smith, but when fit he has impressed for the tricolours, scoring the opening try in the 2019 NRL Grand Final.
We now have a better idea as to where Verrills will end up in 2023 and it will be a rare bit of good news for Eels fans this offseason, as The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley is reporting that he is set for a move to Parramatta as the club’s replacement for Reed Mahoney.
Sealed with an Italian meal. Soon-to-be teammates Brandon Smith and Joey Manu celebrated new Roosters deals at a plush Eastern Suburbs eatery, via @FatimaKdouh_.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) November 29, 2021
“Sam Verrills has been linked with a move to Parramatta as the NRL’s off-season game of musical chairs takes another twist,” said Crawley.
“Brandon Smith’s expected arrival at the Sydney Roosters for the 2023 season may leave Verrills the odd man out at Bondi, even though he is contracted at the club until the end of 2024.
“Unless the 22-year-old is happy to play second fiddle when Smith arrives, the premiership-winning hooker will need to shift clubs to continue his development.
“Verrills agent Steve Gillis did not want to discuss hypotheticals when contacted but restated that the young rake has a three-year contract at the Roosters.
“But while the Eels can’t make public their interest at this point, it has been speculated privately that they would be keen if Verrills does seek a release.”
Verrills will likely gain a release from the Roosters in 2023 if they sign Brandon Smith, and if he were to join Parramatta than all the better, as Verrills will once again have a starting role in the NRL and the Eels would get their hands on a very talented player.