Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The race for Brandon Smith’s services in 2023 seems to now realistically be between three teams as the Gold Coast Titans, Sydney Roosters and the Dolphins make their moves to secure the New Zealand International.
Over the past week, we have seen footage of Smith meeting with two of the three contenders, and have heard from both the Titans and Dolphins CEO’s on their pursuit of the 25-year-old.
However, to this point we are yet to see or hear anything out of the Roosters camp.
Dolphins recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan recently spoke to The Australian with confidence about his club’s chances of signing Smith and believes that head coach Wayne Bennett will prove the deciding factor.
“I’m not saying we are definitely going to get him, but I think we have our noses in front,” said O’Sullivan.
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“The Titans will think they are in front and I’m sure the Roosters will also think they are in front.
“We’ll find out in the next week or so who ends up in front.
“The money has stopped now so it’s a matter of where Brandon wants to go.
“Wayne is a huge factor in getting Brandon, I had a meeting with a manager the other day and he said I wouldn’t be meeting you if it wasn’t for Wayne Bennett.”
O’Sullivan’s comments at the very least confirm that Smith is yet to put pen to paper with any of the aforementioned clubs, nor has he re-signed with his current club the Melbourne Storm, which at this point looks to be a most unlikely occurrence.
The Dolphins pursuit of Smith is of course due to his talent and marquee stature in the game, but it may not be the only reason why the NRL’s newest franchise wants to sign him.
It is no secret that Cameron Munster would like a move back to Queensland and has even publicly stated in the past that he would be up for a move to the Dolphins.
Although, he is not off contract until the end of 2023, meaning he will have to play a season at the Storm while the Dolphins are in the competition.
During this period, Melbourne will be doing everything they can to keep Munster at the club, but if his close friend Brandon Smith is already at the Dolphins that could reaffirm his commitment to the NRL’s 17th club.