TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Brandon Smith of the Storm warms up before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at QCB Stadium, on July 23, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The Sydney Roosters have reportedly moved into pole position for the signature of Brandon Smith.

The New Zealand international has spent the last month touring potential destinations for his next contract, which will begin in 2023.

Starting in Townsville to meet with the North Queensland Cowboys, Smith then moved to the Brisbane area to meet with both the Gold Coast Titans, and the NRL's newest club in the Dolphins.

It was thought one of those two clubs may have been the front-runner, with Smith's family currently based in Brisbane, however, according to The Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Roosters - who Smith toured last week - have moved ahead of all three Queensland clubs.

Smith would take something of a salary sacrifice to join the Roosters, however, it's understood the club sold their ability to win premierships to Smith.

The hooker and lock forward has played regular finals football during his time with the Melbourne Storm, and was involved in another preliminary final this year.

BRANDON SMITH
Hooker
Storm
2021 SEASON AVG
26
Tackles Made
0.5
Tries
0.5
LB Assists

It's understood however the Storm aren't completely out of the picture, with Smith to return to Melbourne this week and give his current club the final opportunity to keep him.

The Storm have recently lost Felise Kaufusi for the 2023 season, with the second-rower becoming the Dolphins' first signing on a three-year deal, and so may be able to increase the size of their offer to Smith.

It's understood, however, Smith will want to play as a starting hooker, and with Harry Grant's option taking him to the end of 2023, it's unclear if he would be able to do that on a permanent basis in the Victorian capital.

His manager Stan Martin has previously mentioned the hope is that a decision will be reached by December 7, the same day Smith and his Melbourne Storm teammates are scheduled to begin pre-season training for the upcoming 2022 season.

It's understood the Dolphins offered Smith the richest deal of the five clubs, however, are set to miss yet another player, following missing out on the likes of Christian Welch, Patrick Carrigan, Clinton Gutherson and Isaiah Papali'i already.

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