A trio of high-profile Roosters have reportedly been spotted playing a round of golf with coveted Storm playmaker Brandon Smith in Sydney's north shore.
The New Zealand international is seen as the most in-demand signature of the off-season ahead of 2023, with the Chooks set to contend with North Queensland, Gold Coast, the Dolphins and Melbourne for the star rake's services.
Smith is understood to have met with all four interested suitors in recent weeks in a trip down the easter seaboard, making a final stop to meet with the Roosters before returning to Victoria.
Despite Smith's strong link to the Roosters, Waerea-Hargreaves played down any suggestion of contract discussions whilst on the green.
“He’s a grown man,” Waerea-Hargreaves told News Corp.
“He has a big decision to make. He will know what is right for him. We have played for the Kiwis and roomed together for four or five years... He’s a great man.”
A decision by Smith is tipped to be made in the coming weeks, with crucial talks with the Storm set to take place prior to a final decision.
The Roosters are seen as the other rival club with a chance to lure the Storm larrikin away from AAMI Park past the end of his current contract.
"He has spoken to a lot of clubs and narrowed it down to those two," a source recently told Wide World of Sports.
"Brandon still has another meeting with the Roosters coming up and that will probably decide which way he goes."
Welch is the latest name in the Dolphins' sights to have opted elsewhere, signing a contract extension with the Storm for 2025.