Brandon Smith, Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm, signing, agreement, contract, 2023, Trent Robinson, Craig Bellamy, hooker


Young Roosters, Sam Verrills, could be kicked out of Bondi if the Storm immediately decides to part ways with Brandon Smith.

Meanwhile, a former NRL playmaker could return to the league after a six-year hiatus and Brailey resigned with the Sharks in a huge boost for Cronulla’s side.

Former Bulldogs forward Ofahiki Ogden has also signed a training and testing agreement with the Eels.

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BRAILEY SIGNS LONG-TERM EXTENSION

The Sharks are set to lock up current hooker Blayke Brailey for a four-year contract extension, which will see him stay at Cronulla until the end of the 2026 season according to The daily telegraph.

It is understood that Brailey has been reviewed by a number of NRL clubs, including the Dolphins’ latest franchise, but growing up in Cronulla the decision was obvious to the 23-year-old.

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Brailey has been a regular at Cronulla who has played 59 games over three seasons and the Dolphins have been reported to be one of a lineup of clubs that have had an eye on Brailey.

Although he has played the majority of the past two seasons as the fictitious starting half, Brailey will have stiff competition with incoming Dragons hooker / lock Cameron McInnes.

It is understood that with Dale Finucane set to play second, McInnes will play the lockdown role in a strong group of attackers for the 2022 season.

LOCKS FOR FILLING THE EEL HOLE

The Roosters are set to land superstar hooker Brandon Smith, seriously leaving Sam Verrills’ future in the Tricolors.

Verrills was set to start in the Roosters’ number nine jersey this season, but may have to look elsewhere if Smith lands at Bondi Junction.

The 22-year-old will fall into the Roosters hierarchy and lose his starting spot if Smith gets an early release from the Storm to join his new team in 2022.

The Eels are on the hunt for a half-model after losing Reed Mahoney for the 2023 season, Verrills could be a potential candidate.

Over the past three seasons and with finals experience under his belt, the 22-year-old has shown he is more than capable of starting in a new jersey at NRL level.

More importantly, Eels head coach Brad Arthur is said to be a Sam Verrills fan.

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Mahoney will start for the Bulldogs in 2023, leaving room for Verrills to make the Eels’ roster, although he was under contract with the Roosters until 2024.

The daily telegraph reported that Verrills could seek release due to his transfer to the bench.

More importantly, with Mahoney leaving after the 2022 season along with Niukore and Papali’i, the Eels will be able to afford Verrils

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SHEENS RETURNS HIM BACK

Robert Lui hasn’t set foot on the NRL scene since 2015, but now the 31-year-old is in contention for a Cowboys comeback.

Returning to Australia after a six-year stint in the Super League, Lui signed with the Blackhawks from the Cowboys.

He who was born in Townsville began his career in 2009 with the Wests Tigers, playing alongside current Cowboys coach Todd Payten and then moved to North Queensland from 2012 to 2015.

Struggling for playing time in the NRL, Lui joined the Salford Red Devils in 2016 where he played 102 games over three seasons and then joined Super League heavyweight Leeds Rhinos.

Former Blues and Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens, who was director of the Red Devils rugby league when brought to him, believes the 31-year-old could surprise punters as his time in the Super League has been beneficial .

“He’s a smart player and he’s gained a lot of confidence in the Super League – he could be a surprise package,” Sheens said.

SMITH READY TO JOIN THE ROOSTERS

Brandon Smith has reportedly announced within the next 48 hours that he will be joining the Roosters and the Storm star may seek immediate release.

Smith met the Roosters on Friday and was blown away by their “polished presentation” and what coach Trent Robinson had to offer.

The 25-year-old played golf with club heavyweights Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend and Mitch Aubusson, and spent several hours at Robinson’s house.

Smith began to inform the multiple other clubs chasing his signing that he was going with the Roosters, according to the Daily Telegraph.

“The deal is done,” Phil Rothfield told Big Sports Breakfast radio on Monday.

“I can say how impressive the Roosters were in their sale, they are moving into the new stadium, the old Sydney football stadium, and they have artwork of what the dressing room will look like.

“They have the names on the lockers and they showed the video to Brandon Smith, they have Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Joey Manu and their names on the lockers, James Tedesco and Luke Keary, and then they put Brandon Smith’s name on a locker… It was a very nifty presentation of the Roosters.

BRANDON SMITHSource: provided

“Trent Robinson even said to the young man ‘Be careful, go home and talk to the Melbourne Storm before making any announcements.’

“But look, the deal is done, Redcliffe missed another player, disappointing for them, but I think there will be an announcement in the next 48 hours once he informs Melbourne Storm.”

Smith detailed his day with the Roosters in an interview with YKTR Sports this weekend.

“It was actually mind-blowing,” Smith said.

“I can’t explain it… like I went golfing with Jared, Aubo and Friendy, and Nick Politis was calling them. He’s on a business trip to LA right now and he’s calling them just to see how they’re doing.

“And they spoke so passionately about the club… I think the best thing about the Roosters, bro, is your life, not your football.

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“Like, they want you to be ready for life. They don’t want you to walk away with nothing from the rugby league. They just pushed it. They can tell you how they are going to help you in life… it was just mind blowing.

Smith is expected to join the Roosters from 2023, but Rothfield believes his disrespectful comments on the radio could mean the No.9 is seeking an early exit.

“What he said… makes you wonder if he’s trying to get out of there early even and join the Roosters next year?” Is he trying to light (the Storm)? I don’t know, ”Rothfield said.

“I was really, really disappointed. Look, he’s a great character. One of the beauties of Brandon Smith is that he tells you how it is, there are no clichés, but I was really disappointed.

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EELS PROVIDE LIFE LINE FROM NRL TO REJECTED BULLDOG

Former Bulldogs forward Ofahiki Ogden has signed a training and testing agreement with the Eels.

Ogden was one of 14 players the Dogs released in late 2021, a revamp that is expected to continue into the 2023 season.

The 25-year-old was charged with drug possession after being deported by police over the past week, but he avoided a court conviction earlier this month.

Ogden has reportedly turned his back on Super League offers in a bid to resurrect his NRL career.

The New Zealand-born mainstay has had his issues off the pitch, but the Eels still see potential in Ogden.

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Ogden was in and out of the Bulldogs’ freshman, making 45 appearances over four seasons.

“It’s a great decision for Ofahiki, he had a number of options, but he believes this opportunity with Parramatta gives him a great chance to develop his game further,” Luke Lombardi told the Daily Telegraph.

“He will start on Monday and go into the race.”

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