Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
In December 2020, we heard the Melbourne Storm announce that hooker Brandon Smith would be departing the club at the end of this season.
Despite speculation being rampant, Smith is yet to sign on the dotted line with any club for 2022, but here are a few possible destinations anyway.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been searching for a consistent first-grade hooker since Michael Ennis left the club at the end of 2014, and have been linked with many a nine over the past five years.
Brandon Smith would be a perfect addition to a Bulldogs roster brimming with young talent and a fresh spine.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Reece Robson has proven a standout player in a lacklustre Cowboys side thus far in 2021, making it hard to see why the club would pursue Brandon Smith; however, Smith played for North Queensland in the Holden Cup competition.
The Cowboys are also currently looking to bolster their squad with proven stars to make a top eight push in 2022, and the New Zealand International hooker certainly fits that mould.
GOLD COAST TITANS
Much like the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, the Gold Coast Titans have been searching for a consistent first-grade hooker for several years now, and considering the club have garnered expectations for the future, Brandon Smith would be a huge contributing factor towards those expectations being met.
Wests have become known as a club that just misses out on big star signings in recent years but can turn that around by securing Brandon Smith’s signature for 2022.
Smith would be the cherry on top of an impressive forward pack and provide Luke Brooks with some much-needed assistance in the Tigers’ spine.
Jacob Liddle has looked good so far for the Tigers in 2021 but has suffered some big injuries over the years, so signing Brandon Smith not only provides the club with a star, but a fit hooker to boot.
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
Manly-Warringah seems tentative to sign a long-term hooker while they wait for the possible return of Tongan International Manase Fainu, but the responsible thing to do would be to start looking elsewhere for a nine as if Fainu does return, an extended period out of the game could prove detrimental.
If the Sea Eagles were to get Brandon Smith on the books, he would be a huge coup and certainly help them out of their current rut.