Cameron Munster isn't going anywhere... For 2023 at least.
The Melbourne Storm have confirmed on Saturday afternoon after calling a surprise snap press conference that the star five-eighth will honour the final year of his deal.
Munster said he didn't know where the speculation has come from, but that he never asked the club for a release.
"Yeah, it's been a bit of a speculation, but I've never myself or my management, asked the club for a release next year," Munster said.
"I'm still contracted, and I'm committed to this club, the Melbourne Storm, until 2023.
"I'm really excited, and I don't know what's going on, but obviously there has been a bit of speculation like I've spoken about."
It comes after more comments from Dolphins' coach Wayne Bennett that he was still hopeful of having the star join the NRL's expansion franchise for their inaugural season, which would have required a release from the Storm, who have him contracted until the end of the 2023 season.
“If we don’t get him in 2023, which we believe we will, certainly 2024 is on the table for us, and, hopefully, it’s on the table for him,” Bennett told SEN on Friday.
The comments from Bennett come as the club continues to battle for talent, their initial recruitment campaign having missed virtually every marquee name they have been rumoured to look at.
Munster said Bennett was probably just "trying to stir the pot."
"Wayne's Wayne. Just probably trying to stir the pot, but it has nothing to do with me," Munster said.
"I'm not going to lose myself by asking for a release. I'm committed to the club and want to see out my contract.
"I don't want to be one of them (sic) people that go decide to go 'I want to leave.' I'm committed to this club."
According to multiple publications, the persistent raid to try and lure Munster north for 2022 have caused the Storm to lodge a second formal complaint with the NRL over the super coach and expansion's clubs transfer tactics.
Asked if the constant speculation over his future in the media was disappointing, he admitted it was getting "frustrating."
"Every week there is something coming up about myself," Munster said.
"There is nothing too bad, but it's getting a little bit frustrating, just because I'm worrying about my footy and trying to play good footy.
"But I'm always getting sent different articles every day or every week and it's always something different. Surely there is something better to do than worry about myself.
NRL rules allow players to talk to clubs, but not officially receive offers until they are within 12 months of being off-contract (November 1 the year before).
The Storm have long held the view they won't be releasing Munster, and are attempting to re-sign him for 2024 and beyond before the November 1 deadline.
"I still am committed to the Storm until 2023. I'm not into negotiations until November 1. I'm here till 2023 and that's all my focus is about," Munster added when asked whether he could see himself in Melbourne long-term.
"If it (staying here after 2023) happens it happens. I haven't spoken to my partner or management on going any further. My main goal is to win a premiership for the Storm, and next year as well.
"I enjoy my time in Melbourne."
The club have already re-signed Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Harry Grant long-term on monster deals, while Craig Bellamy is contracted until the end of 2026, but on a year-to-year basis to remain in the head coaching position.
He has so far agreed to remain in the role with the clipboard until at least the end of 2023, but will have another decision to make early next year - a decision which could ultimately influence how long Munster remains at the club for.