The Sydney Roosters are expected to announce the signing of Melbourne Storm dummy-half Brandon Smith imminently.
Smith, 25, has come under fire for his recent comments in an interview where he praised the Roosters after meeting with them to discuss his future.
While he’s currently contracted to the Storm until the end of 2022, Melbourne released a statement on Tuesday confirming the Kiwi international had informed them that next season would be his last in purple.
With the Roosters move all but certain, The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio says he’d consider letting Smith walk a year early to “send a message”.
“The first port of call is Melbourne need to make a decision with what they do with Brandon Smith,” Riccio said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“That’ll come over the next few days, look, if I’m Craig Bellamy and I want to send a message I let Brandon Smith go now.
“There’s a standard that needs to be set in the way that Brandon has explained himself, I’d let him go.”
With Smith set to join the tri-colours and take the starting hooker role, Riccio can’t see current Roosters number nine Sam Verrills staying put in Bondi.
“As a result of that, there’d be an immediate impact on the Roosters and obviously their cap,” Riccio said.
“I think Sam Verrills this year if not the following season will be the fall guy from this whole situation.
“I don’t think Sam Verrills will be at the Roosters beyond 2023, yes, it’s true that he’s contracted beyond that, but I believe he’ll be on the move as a result of the Smith signing.”
While Verrills is contracted until the end of the 2024 season, Riccio sees him moving on to one of the Eels, Panthers or Dolphins whenever it’s decided that Smith will join the club.
“I don’t think they (Smith and Verrills) can be under the cap together. That’s where the Parramatta Eels, the Dolphins and the Penrith Panthers because Api Koroisau will be on the move. He won’t be at the Panthers beyond next season,” Riccio said.
“The Dolphins are an interesting one, they just can’t get players across the line as well, but Sam Verrills’ name has been floated there.”
Verrills, 22, has made 33 appearances for the Roosters since making his debut in the 2019 season.