Brandon Smith’s explosive podcast is being investigated by the NRL – but the 25-year-old Kiwi says his comments have not been reported fairly.
The Melbourne star is facing the prospect of being kicked to the kerb by the Storm with reports the club has been left fuming about his behaviour on the YKTR Sports podcast this week.
The Daily Telegraph revealed earlier this week, the Victorian club is seriously weighing up the prospect of cutting the Kiwi loose with one year left to run on his current deal.
Smith dropped a bombshell on the podcast by declaring he wants to win a premiership in a Roosters jumper and his signature with the club is expected to be announced soon.
It is not the only reason the club is unhappy.
The Telegraph on Tuesday also revealed the NRL is not happy with Storm’s conduct.
NRL boss Andrew Abdo has told the newspaper: “I’ve asked the Integrity Unit to review the podcast and provide me with a report”.
The report details the league’s focus is the language Smith used in the interview where he uttered the words “f***” and “c***” a series of times.
There is speculation his behaviour is enough to warrant a breach of contract notice by the league for bringing the game into disrepute.
He faces a potential fine of up to $10,000.
Smith has also come under fire for his declaration about the Roosters.
Given Smith will be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, his playing future has been arguably the biggest story of the off-season as a number of clubs have rolled out the red carpet to impress the star.
The Titans, Dolphins, Cowboys and Roosters all made their pitch to lock in Smith, but his comments on the YKTR Sports suggested the fight is over.
“I was just looking at the Roosters jersey … going, ‘I want to win a premiership in that jersey’,” Smith said.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, senior figures at the Storm are furious at Smith’s comments considering he’s still a contracted player with the club and are seriously considering the possibility of cutting the hooker loose.
The Kiwi was reportedly going to give the Storm the final word in a last-ditch attempt to persuade him to stay with the club, but any goodwill now appears to have gone out the window, such is the feeling at the club.
Smith today made an apology for “how some of the comments have been received”.
He also apologised to the Storm, declaring it was “never my intent to disrespect or come across as ungrateful to the club”.
The statement was shared by the Melbourne Storm’s official Twitter account.
Statement from Brandon Smith. pic.twitter.com/PQBVlg7BfN
— Melbourne Storm (@storm) November 30, 2021
Smith’s comments earlier did not go down well with veteran rugby league journalist Phil Rothfield.
Speaking on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast, Rothfield believed Smith’s comments were “way out of order”.
“I think it was highly disrespectful to his club, Melbourne Storm,” Rothfield said. “I think this is a similar situation to (Viliame) Kikau putting on a Canterbury Bulldogs jersey.
“Now, Brandon Smith is on big, big money at the Storm. He came over as a kid from New Zealand, he got the benefit of great coaching from people like Craig Bellamy, learning under Cameron Smith, (Cooper) Cronk, (Billy) Slater to become a marquee player.
“But he’s contracted there for another 12 months; he’s 16 months away from joining the Roosters, which he’s obviously going to do.
“But to start talking about winning a premiership, and his dream of doing that in a Roosters jersey, I think personally is way out of order.
“And I think he’s got to go home this week, he’s got to tell Melbourne Storm, he’s got to have a meeting with Craig Bellamy, and I don’t think it’s going to be all that pleasant.
“Brandon Smith, if he’d been a bit smarter, would have held that interview … until he told Melbourne, and then toned it down a little bit, throw in a few lines about his commitment to the Storm for the next twelve months.
“What he’s said makes me wonder if he’s trying to get out of there a year early and join the Roosters next year.
“I was really, really disappointed. He’s a great character. One of the beauties of Brandon Smith is that he tells it how it is and there are no cliches. He’s open and honest in whatever he says, but I was really disappointed.”
Brandon Smith’s full statement released on Tuesday
Brandon Smith has caused a storm after a podcast appearance. Photo / Photosport
I want to address current media speculation going on around me at the moment, and specifically my recent comments on the YKTR Sports podcast.
Over the past two months, I’ve read multiple headlines about me day in day out, many of which were untrue, and none that came from my mouth directly.
I done this podcast for that very reason. To be fully transparent about the process I’ve been going through.
It’s honestly been really exciting throughout and I’m truly grateful to be in the position I’m in.
One thing I pride myself on is being myself, and regardless of backlash I will continue to do do.
That being said, I do acknowledge and want to apologise for how some of the comments have been received.
Specifically to the Melbourne Storm, it was never my intent to disrespect or come across as ungrateful to the club that has done so much for me and my family.
And that goes for my coaches, members, staff and most of all, my teammates.
I speak from the heart – for better or worse sometimes – and I’m sorry if anyone was hurt by my words.
But at the end of the day they are my words.
I specifically also want to address the media honing in on my comments around the Storm culture, and it being framed as a “drinking culture” they have going on down there. Our culture is built on hard work and effort as the main priorities.
These comments have been taken way out of context, and I implore anyone interested in the matter to please watch the interview in its entirety before jumping to conclusions.
This will be the last time I address the comments made on this podcast.
My focus is now fully turned to the future with the Melbourne Storm and all the amazing opportunities laid before me.
Whatever happens I will give 100 per cent. It’s all I know. If I’m to be labelled a terrible person so be it, if I cuss too much, I’m sorry, but that is me and I will continue to be me.
Forever grateful – Cheese
Smith’s comments on “piss-ups” at Melbourne Storm
Smith had earlier said in the podcast drinking had helped the team form such a close bond.
“We have so many piss-ups and it’s no secret that piss-ups build relationships, there’s a reason I was getting piss fit this whole time,” Smith said.
“Because you just start letting loose, you can talk and be yourself. At the Storm bro, drinking is a massive part of the culture.
“We had beer pong competition at my house and Scott Drinkwater, we were playing beer pong, Dale (Finucane) was blind, and Scott kept pouring vodka into his beer cups and he drank a bottle of vodka in 32 minutes, like a whole bottle and he was so pissed.
“He doesn’t realise how strong he is, he grabs you and just manhandles you around and 20 minutes later he’s got his shoe and he’s spewing into his shoe.”