Storm hooker to be the hot property on NRL open market.
The Brisbane Broncos will need to build a $1.5 million a season war-chest if they want to lure Melbourne Storm hooker Cameron Smith north of the border.
Smith is set to be the first big name in the NRL to captalise off the increased salary cap for each team after the recent new tevelsion deal for the competition.
The cap will rise to $6.55 million from 2015, an increase of $800,000 from the current level, and with exemptions for marquee players, Smith is set to become one of the country’s richest footballers no matter where he signs.
Smith’s current deal with the NRL premiers finishes at the end of the 2014 season, and Brisbane Broncos legend Kerrod Walters beleives Smith is a must-buy for his former club.
“It would be silly not to go after him,” Walter said.
“In the modern game he’s the best there is. My brother (Steve) was very good but in the modern game Smith is something else.
“Andrew (McCullough) is going OK this year, but Smith is the guy he needs to study. It is difficult for Andrew because his team is not going well but I would be getting him to study a lot of Smith’s games to take his performance to that next level.”
Smith is seen as one of the best players on the field in the NRL and one of it’s most marketable off it, with the representative star steering well clear of the scandals that have enveloped the code in recent years.
Before the first State of Origin game this year, Smith said his next contract was likely to be his big contract, able to set himself and his family up for life.
“I’m 30 this year so if I sign a lengthy deal, it’s more than likely going to be my last one … so it won’t just come down to someone throwing an offer and me accepting it,” Smith said.
“When I first started playing, I always said I wanted to be a one-club man but as we’ve all seen with ‘JT’ (Johnathan Thurston) and his last negotiation, it is a pretty important contract for me.”