Brandon Smith has shut the door on any potential early release from Melbourne next year declaring he will be a Storm player and expects Craig Bellamy to be coaching the club in 2022.
While Smith had been linked with a move to Canterbury, Gold Coast or even Brisbane next season as he battles with Queensland hooker Harry Grant for the Storm No.9 jersey permanently, the 24-year-old Kiwi Test star said he was committed to seeing out the final year of his deal in Melbourne and he would not seek an early release.
The Storm had put a hefty price on Smith’s early exit, wanting any potential suitors to supply Melbourne with a rep player of similar value to allow him to leave next season.
But Smith is fully content playing another year “sharing” the job with good mate Grant.
“I will be at the Melbourne Storm next year 100 per cent,” Smith said.
“I can’t leave that contract and I’ve spoken to Frank (football boss Frank Ponissi) about it and my contract is solid for next year.
“I will be here next year so that’s my future.
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“If [any club is] going to make an enquiry it’s for 2023.”
Bellamy has remained coy about his future plans, but Smith said he was confident the master coach would go another season in charge of the Storm.
“Yeah I think he will be [Storm coach next year], I don’t know if he will be but I think he will be,” Smith said.
Melbourne’s most immediate contractual concern is trying to convince Nicho Hynes to stay at the Storm despite growing interest from the likes of Brisbane and Canberra.
Hynes has starred in the absence of Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen with 11 try assists in six games including Thursday night’s 40-12 win over Brisbane to up the stakes in his quest for a rich new deal.
Smith said any club would be lucky to secure Hynes’ talents as his off field personality was just as impressive if not more than what he is capable of producing on the paddock.
“What Nicho brings is a lot of good spirit. He is real good guy to have around the club, he is what you call a poster boy,” Smith said.
“The thing about Nicho is mental health is a big thing for him, it’s a big issue he has faced before and he is the first person if you’re struggling to go and have a conversation with because you know he’s been through it all.
Bellamy 'keen as mustard' to keep in-demand Hynes
“He is always willing to help out, regardless of football to have someone like that around the club is always good.
“Not only as a footballer he is someone you want around as a friend
“Whether the Broncos get him or not he will be an asset to any club, he would be an asset to the world really. He is a good bloke.”