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Kiwi connection may help Maguire get Smith to Tigers

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has confirmed the club's interest in Brandon Smith after the Storm forward was given permission earlier this week to test the market.

The joint venture was one of the 14 clubs which received an email on Tuesday indicating Smith was chasing a starting hooker spot for a rival team in 2022 and had been allowed by the Storm to explore his options.

Maguire handed Smith a Test debut for the Kiwis in 2018 with the 24-year-old making the No.9 jersey his own at the international level.

The Tigers have struggled to find consistency in the hooker role since Robbie Farah's retirement in 2019 with Smith a handy option for the club to chase.

Coincidentally, the had a Storm hooker fill the void last season but Harry Grant has returned south of the border with Melbourne stalwart Cameron Smith all but certain to retire.

Brandon Smith is one of the hottest properties on the open market - on Thursday, Kevin Walters said Brisbane planned to take on local rival the Gold Coast in pursuit of him.

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"He's a very good hooker, I've got a lot of time for the way he plays the game," Maguire said on Friday.

"He's had a different role down there [in Melbourne] because of the circumstances but the time he's been with myself and the Kiwis he's been excellent.

"He's one of those players everyone wants to play with but his craft around the space is very smart.

"We're very particular with what we're after. We want winners and people who are going to go above and beyond.

"We're about improving and to bring players like that makes us a better team.

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"That's what it takes to win comps. The salary cap plays a massive part in building yourself to success. We need to make sure we get that right as well."

Maguire's own future at the Wests Tigers was confirmed on Thursday night with the premiership-winning coach extending his contract until the end of 2023.

He is just the second coach to re-sign in the club's 20-year history. 

"I'm really pleased and am following a good coach in Tim Sheens," Maguire said.

"When I first walked in you've always got in your sights on wanting to win straight away.

"I haven't changed from that but it takes time sometimes to bring that change on.

"There's been a few different hurdles along the way to get to where we are but I think the organisation is in a really good position now with everyone around the team."

Maguire said he remain committed to juggling his commitments with the Kiwis ahead of the 2021 World Cup and beyond. 

"I've got two very supportive teams around me and the NZRL have got a lot of good people over there on the ground doing a lot of great work," he said.

"It's a bit of passion in the background but I'm very focused on what we need to achieve here."