Smith set for icy homecoming at Storm

Smith set for icy homecoming at Storm

Brandon Smith should brace for a trademark Craig Bellamy blast when he arrives back in Melbourne with Storm officials privately seething after their hooker's glowing praise of the Sydney Roosters.

Smith is believed to be bound for the Roosters for the 2023 season after he announced on Sunday he had made a decision on his playing future.

Queensland clubs are understood to have conceded they are no longer in the running for Smith's services, after North Queensland, Gold Coast and the Dolphins met with the hooker in recent weeks.

Melbourne gave a blunt “no comment” to AAP when asked their thoughts on Smith's involvement in a podcast, during which he gushed about their fierce arch rivals.

In it the 25-year-old admitted he looked at their famous jumper during a meeting and thought: “I want to win a premiership in that jersey”.

He told YKTR Sports podcast he found the Roosters' approach to be “mind-blowing”.

Smith was wined and dined by the Roosters powerbrokers, coach Trent Robinson and club games record-holder Mitch Aubusson.

“He pretty much persuaded me with his words,” he said of Robinson, after being invited to make pizza at his family home.

The Storm are upset that Smith publicly announced he had made a decision before speaking with Bellamy and club officials after promising he would give them a last chance at re-signing him.

He has made no secret that he has been up and down the east coast spruiking himself, despite Melbourne giving him a start and moulding him into a premiership and New Zealand Test player.

The club is already in danger of losing Nelson Asofa-Solomona for the foreseeable future after his refusal to be vaccinated.

Fellow prop Tui Kamikamica is also facing police charges.

Meanwhile, the Roosters have announced another Kiwi international Joey Manu had re-signed with the club on a three-year deal.

A two-time premiership winner and key cog in their backline, Manu turned down lucrative offers from the Dolphins and the Warriors to remain with the Tricolours.

“The Roosters is home to me and I couldn't see myself playing for another club. From the top down, I love this club,” Manu said.

Robinson was delighted that Manu saw his future with the club.

“Joseph has been with club since he was a schoolboy and I've loved watching him develop into the hardworking player and game-changer we all enjoy watching today,” Robinson said.

“Joey has an incredible work ethic and is confident in the player and man that he is, and it's great news that his leadership will continue to benefit the Roosters in the coming years.”

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