Storm rules out bidding war for Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm rules out bidding war for Smith

By Wayne Heming 27/11/2008 08:27:07 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne boss Brian Waldron has ruled out a bidding war to retain the NRL's No.1 hooker Cameron Smith, the target of a massive Gold Coast Titans offer.

Waldron said on Thursday the Storm would pay Smith as much as it could afford to keep him on the club's playing roster.

"There won't be a bidding war," said Waldron whose club was embroiled in a bitter battle with the Titans for winger Steve Turner's signature in 2006.

"We understand Cameron could probably earn more money outside of Melbourne but he'll have to make a decision just as Cooper (Cronk) and Greg (Inglis) had to and Anthony Quinn who all chose to sign long-term deals."

Smith is one of several high class players, along with Brisbane duo Darren Lockyer and Karmichael Hunt, coming onto the open market at the end of next season who'll attract special interest.

Already under salary cap pressure with so many top line stars on their books, Melbourne face a battle to keep Smith, set to inspect the Titans' facilities and discuss his playing future with the Gold Coast club within the next fortnight.

Waldron revealed Melbourne had not put an official offer to Smith.

However, he was not "one bit concerned" the Titans were turning up the heat in an aggressive raid on their highly decorated rake.

"Cameron is entitled to explore his options as he should," Waldron told AAP on Thursday.

"All we've asked of him is that we have some clarity about his future by Christmas.

"We knew he would explore them and he would be mad if he didn't, and we've encouraged him to do that.

"We know roughly the mark we have to get to and we'll work towards that with Isaac Moses his new manager."

While the Titans' offer to entice Smith back home is nothing like the reported $3 million over five years, it's understood to be considerably more than what the Storm could muster after paying the wages of superstars like Billy Slater and Greg Inglis.

Melbourne have already lost the game's brightest young player, Israel Folau, to Brisbane next season, although that had more to do with the teenager's desire to be reunited with his family and his church than money.

Smith, 25, recently spent a month in World Cup camp with Titans captain Scott Prince and the club's coach John Cartwright.

"I'm very confident we can sort something out one way or another," said Waldron.

"We have our limits but he knows the benefits of staying with the Storm.

"As the old saying goes, `not everyone can have a million dollars, but you can have a million memories'."

The North Queensland Cowboys, meanwhile, have secured an extension of their major sponsorship with retail giant Harvey Norman until the end of 2011.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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