Brisbane are pressing to sign Melbourne Storm hooker Brandon Smith, while the Broncos look to have stumbled in their first attempt to lure Panthers second-rower Kurt Capewell, per Fox Sports.
Smith has reportedly received plenty of attention from across the league given his promising playmaking ability and the Storm’s preference to have Harry Grant take the reigns of the No.9 jumper from Cameron Smith.
Did anyone actually say the Storm would struggle without Cam Smith? We knew they were still gonna have Munster, Hughes, and Papenhuyzen and a choice of Grant or Brandon Smith at hooker. Cam Smith is the GOAT, but surely nobody doubted the Storm without him this season. https://t.co/21Ui0ERLDv
— Slatts (@trentslatts) March 11, 2021
The Titans, Tigers and Warriors are just three clubs in a pool of potential suitors for the 24-year-old, who was granted the approval for an early release before his contract ends at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
The New Zealand international started at hooker in the Storm’s 26-18 win over the Rabbitohs on Thursday as Grant battles a knee injury, proving his worth at dummy-half.
Melbourne have previously flagged that they would only be looking to part ways with Smith should they receive a player of similar standards in return, with the Broncos perhaps limited in star stature.
Coach Craig Bellamy has previously held talks with Broncos’ Origin winger Xavier Coates in a bid to lure the highly-touted teenager to Victoria.
“I want to help turn this club around and whatever happens next year is down the track.”https://t.co/f4wx0VT9Xm
— ZeroTackle.com (@zerotackle) March 11, 2021
A key bargaining chip for the Broncos is that Smith would be the club’s full-time rake as newly-appointed coach Kevin Walters looks to adjust his playmaking stocks.
While the Broncos look to have upped their intentions in satisfying Smith, the club have failed to impress Capewell after underestimating his asking price.
According to Fox Sports’ James Hooper, the Broncos put forward a two-year deal worth an estimated $300,000 per year. The problem – Capewell is understood to be on closer to $100,000 more in his current deal with Penrith.
The 27-year-old had a stunning 2020 season with the Panthers, earning an Origin debut and playing in all three representative matches in the Maroons’ series win.
Capewell is unsigned past the 2021 season and could be squeezed out of the Mountains following lucrative deals to Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton and Isaah Yeo.