Cronulla legend Paul Gallen has questioned whether Cameron Smith would be willing to take a pay cut to benefit his club’s future as the Storm skipper ponders his place in the 2021 side.
Gallen discussed Smith’s likelihood of taking a pay cut following Phil Gould’s call for Smith “to be fair” to Melbourne when considering his future, with Smith still in limbo in deciding to retire.
“I think what Gus was more talking about was the financial impact it will have on the club,” Gallen told Wide World of Sports’ 2GB radio.
Like Gallen, Smith has been a one-club player, but the former Sharks star believes Melbourne’s development of their upcoming hookers may suffer if they continue to back Smith as their No.1.
“A question I ask: are Melbourne concerned about signing other players? Harry Grant, who’s now at the Tigers — if Smith stays, they can release him and he can stay at the Tigers.
“But I feel they need to sign other players as well, that’s not the only position you need to be concerned about.
“…The rumour is he’s on around $1 million. That’s huge money. That’s a marquee player payment.
“Without a doubt Cameron Smith is a marquee player, he’s a terrific player, but he’s also (almost) 37.”
Despite Smith still leading from the front for Craig Bellamy’s side, Gallen also questioned whether he could take a reduced salary.
“There’s going to come a time where you may have to take a little bit less money. I suppose the question is, is Cameron willing to do that?”
“Is he willing to take $500,000 or $750,000 to play again? When you talk about ability and what Cameron Smith can do on the field and what he means to a club off the field, he can keep playing without a doubt and he means so much to the Storm.
“He could do it for another season without a doubt.
“The question’s going to be, can he handle earning less money, which I think he may have to do moving forward.”