Smith hints at staying with the Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith hints at staying with the Storm

By Steve Jancetic 11/09/2008 06:03:39 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith, the final piece in the Storm's NRL dynasty puzzle, gave the strongest hint yet that he too could be in for the long haul.

Hot on the heels of Greg Inglis' decision to re-sign with the premiers through to the end of 2012, Smith said he was already in negotiations with the club to extend his stay beyond next season.

The Test skipper was set to become the hottest player on the free market when his current contract expired at the end of the 2009 season, but like they did with Inglis, the Storm have moved quickly to quash any potential bidding war.

Talks between Smith and the club have been put on hold ahead of the upcoming finals series, but it seems the push for back-to-back titles will only serve to delay the inevitable.

"The Storm have actually come to me with an offer for the next few years and at the moment I'm quite happy with where it's all started," Smith told radio station 2KY ahead of Sunday's qualifying final at Olympic Park against the New Zealand Warriors.

"I'd like to get the finals out of the way because I don't really want too many other distractions.

"If we get past (the Warriors) it's only two more games.

"Hopefully it can be sorted out shortly."

Speculation has been rife for some time that Smith would be headed to Brisbane in 2010 on the presumption he and his partner were both keen to be closer to family members in south-east Queensland.

The Broncos could also be in a position to offer the Smith the sort of dollars he would command with the future of current Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer up in the air beyond next season.

Asked if had given any thought to a move away back to Queensland, Smith said: "I really love playing for the Storm and at this stage it's hard to picture myself in another jersey, but the temptation's always there to go home."

Storm chief executive Brian Waldron said he was hopeful of keeping his star No.9, but denied a deal was over the line.

"We'd love to keep Cameron ... but you waste your time trying to rush things," Waldron said.

"We've spoken to Cameron about the type of money we think we can afford to pay him."

As for Smith's desire to return home, Waldron said: "I'd like to think he's been here long enough and (his partner) Barbara's been here long enough that Melbourne's their home, at least for the forseeable future."

In an ominous sign for NRL rivals hoping the Storm's success would eventually lead to the squad being torn apart by salary cap restraints, Smith's retention would complete the set.

Inglis' re-signing on Wednesday came on the back of recent long-term deals for Cooper Cronk and Dallas Johnson, while fullback Billy Slater is also signed through to the end of 2010.

"All the boys down here are pretty keen to keep the core group and at the end of the day if you can sacrifice a bit of money that you'd get elsewhere for some success and hopefully some premierships, then that's the way we want to go," Smith said.

"At the moment we've got Greg signed up, we've got Cooper, Dallas Johnson, Billy Slater's here for a long time and hopefully I can be next."

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