Cameron Smith's impending decision on whether he will play in 2021 has three clubs on tenterhooks and his former club, state and national teammate Cooper Cronk thinks the record-breaker will retire.
The Storm are keen for Smith to finalise his intentions for next year as they need to sort out the futures of his understudies Brandon Smith and Harry Grant.
Gold Coast and Brisbane have indicated they would be keen to snare Smith in the twilight of his career if he wanted to play on and return to his home state.
As reported by NRL.com on Friday, the Storm believe Smith’s decision is imminent and could be announced before next Sunday's Sunshine Coast Stadium clash with the Sea Eagles.
Smith, who has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a shoulder injury, is likely to return for the Manly match.
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Cronk said on Fox Sports on Saturday night that he had no inside information but thought his former teammate would call time on his glittering career.
"I don't know what he’s doing or what he's thinking but I think he retires at the end of this year and the reason I say that is because I think the last two weeks are an indication the Cameron and the Storm that I know, they are priming him for one last assault," he said.
"He's rested for two weeks, he hardly ever misses two games, particularly against the Roosters and Parramatta too so I think he's priming himself for one last shot at that trophy and there will obviously be a decision made soon.
"The last two years he's let his contract run out and decided in November or December whether he’s going to play on next year."
When asked if his club had held any discussions with Smith over a contract for next season, Titans head of performance and culture Mal Meninga said "none at all".
He confirmed Gold Coast would love to land Brandon Smith or Grant if they were available but there was little they could do on that front until Cameron Smith made his call.
"We understand the situation. We respect that it's Cameron’s decision," he said on Fox Sports.
"I think you've got a whole heap of clubs waiting in the wings for that decision so realistically if Cameron's got to tell everyone or tell the Melbourne Storm he's going to play on then and all the other blocks will follow.
"There certainly is [interest in Brandon Smith and Grant] but every club would be chasing those two guys. It all hinges on what Cameron wants to do."