In light of the Gold Coast Titans’ bright start to the 2021 NRL season, two NRL greats believe the club should target Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith.
Much has been made about Smith’s future in the purple, with the New Zealand international out of contract at the end of the 2022 season, with rumours aplenty surrounding his playing future.
After narrowly missing out on finals last year, the Titans have won three of their first five matches in 2021, with new recruits David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleui arguably their best two players so far this season.
Both Sam Thaiday and Darren Lockyer said that not only will the Titans make the top-eight this year, but have urged the club to consider the Smith, who could further aid their premiership tilt for the coming years.
“Having Brandon Smith in that system could really bring those key forwards they’ve signed onto the ball a little bit more,” Thaiday said on Wide World of Sports.
“Creating a little bit around the ruck, I can imagine AJ Brimson just sniffing off the back of a Brandon Smith run… I think it’s a great opportunity.
“I think Harry Grant is going to be Melbourne Storm’s number one pick in that No.9 position, so I’m sure that Brandon Smith will be looking somewhere and the Gold Coast is a fantastic place.
“They’ve got some good players there too that would be an attractive drawcard for him as well.”
I'll say it again: the playing talent is there for NRL expansion, but recruitment is the issue. Some clubs are just far better at it. Storm have Brandon Smith and Harry Grant behind Cam Smith. Crazy.
— Slatts (@trentslatts) February 22, 2020
Thaiday not only backed the Titans to play finals this season, but expected them to be a handful for premiership contenders
“They should set the bar high… If they sit around sixth position they can shake a few teams up in that eight once they’re there.” He said.
Lockyer agreed with Thaiday’s sentiments, both about Smith and the Titans’ finals aspirations.
“The thing I like about him, he’s a competitor… Depending on what you have to pay for him, he would be good value,” Lockyer said.
“Top eight is definitely achievable… I don’t think they’ll win the premiership this year, but they’re building and they’re heading in the right direction.”
The Titans will face Manly in Mudgee on Saturday afternoon in hope of adding a fourth win and moving deeper into the top half.