NRL: Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith signs with rival club for 2023

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The Sydney Roosters have signed Brandon Smith to a three-year deal following weeks of speculation about the popular Melbourne Storm hooker’s future.

Smith won’t pack his bags for Bondi until 2023, despite rumours Storm powerbrokers were considering axing him immediately for comments made on YKTR’s The Ice Project podcast last month.

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Smith spent the beginning of the off-season in discussion with a handful of prospective suitors, including the Roosters, Dolphins and Gold Coast Titans.

He told YKTR late last month his “decision (was) made” to join the Roosters, but Titans star Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, with whom Smith played at the Storm, later told News Corp the premiership-winning hooker was “changing his mind every day”.

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Camera IconSmith claimed drinking was ‘a massive part of the culture’ at the Melbourne Storm in his controversial interview with YKTR. Credit: YouTube

On Friday, the Roosters officially won the race for Smith’s signature.

“We’re excited to announce the signing of Brandon to a three-year arrangement and look forward to welcoming him to the club in 2023,” said Sydney Roosters head of recruitment and junior player development Daniel Anderson.

One of the greatest characters of the modern game, Smith has played 86 NRL matche for the Storm since making his first grade debut in 2017.

He played in the Storm’s 2018 Grand Final loss to the Roosters, but tasted premiership glory two years later when he came off the bench in the Grand Final victory over the Penrith Panthers.

At representative level, the man nicknamed “The Cheese” has played for New Zealand on seven occasions and has also lined up for the Māori All Stars.

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Camera IconSmith has played his entire career to date with the Storm. Supplied Credit: Supplied

Despite being regarded as one of the premier number nines in the competition, Smith spent 2021 sharing hooking duties at club level with Queensland Maroons rake Harry Grant.

The pair’s combination was one of the most devastating offensive weapons in the Storm’s arsenal – Smith would usually start at number nine before shifting to lock when Grant came on with fresh legs.

It appears likely the pair will combine to similar effect next season, as the Storm looks to bounce back from both a turbulent off-season and its unexpected early exit from the 2021 finals series.

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