Ultimatum issued in Cam Smith stand-off
Melbourne's second-choice hooker Brandon Smith has reportedly told the Storm he will request a release if Cameron Smith plays on next year.
Cameron, 37, is yet to make a decision on his future beyond the end of this season and the Sydney Morning Herald reports Brandon will seek opportunities elsewhere if the veteran rolls around again.
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According to the publication, Brandon's agent has written to the club explaining his client will leave despite being contracted until the end of 2022.
Brandon is the New Zealand Test hooker but has been stuck behind Cameron at the Storm, resigned to mainly coming off the bench or playing as a loose forward in the back row.
He has been the starting rake in recent weeks because Cameron has been out with injury and he's not prepared to play second fiddle next year if the Storm skipper doesn't want to retire or move clubs.
Most expected Cameron to have made a decision by now but he has yet to announce anything.
Making the situation even more complicated is Melbourne's other gun hooker Harry Grant, on loan at the Wests Tigers in 2020, will return to Victoria next year. Even if Cameron goes, many pundits have predicted Grant could in fact be the club's first-choice No. 9 after a run of stellar performances this year before recently being cut down by injury.
Brandon will reportedly back himself if he has to fight it out with Grant for the starting dummy-half role but won't stick around if Cameron continues in Melbourne.
There's speculation Cameron may finish his career with the Broncos in his home state of Queensland, while this week the Titans have also emerged as a shock player to potentially secure the former Queensland and Kangaroos captain's signature.
But if he plays another season in Melbourne, then Brandon could find himself on the Bulldogs' radar.
The Kiwi international is reportedly at the top of incoming Canterbury coach Trent Barrett's wishlist, as the former NSW Origin star looks to inject some much-needed class into a roster that can't match it with the rest of the competition.
"There's some really strong mail out there that the Bulldogs and Trent Barrett are very interested in him (Brandon Smith), and why wouldn't you be," Daily Telegraph reporter Dean Ritchie said on the Big Sports Breakfast earlier this week.
"He's a class dummy-half and hooker.
"I think if Cam Smith goes around next year, don't be surprised if the Bulldogs have a nibble at Brandon Smith, whether it's for 2021 or 2022, whenever that may be.
"I know Barrett is a huge fan. They (the Bulldogs) have got some issues at dummy-half. He would be the answer, so it's a bit of a watch-this-space at the moment.
"But certainly Trent Barrett has got some ideas of where his roster should be and needs to be and he is going to go, I reckon, full bore in the next two to three months to really try and reinvigorate that roster over the next to years.
"And Brandon Smith, as I understand, is at the top of that recruitment list."
Originally published as Ultimatum issued in Cam Smith stand-off