Smith, who is the games record holder with 384 and could become the first player in NRL history to reach 400 games this season, was closing in on an extension over a month ago, although according to the Daily Telegraph, his management is playing “hard ball” over third-party deals.
The 35-year-old is keen to remain in Melbourne, as both parties want the deal to be completed.
The Telegraph understand the Storm believe Smith doesn’t want to play elsewhere at this late stage of his career, while the 35-year-old’s management know the Storm need him to stick around after the recent departures of Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.
When Melbourne announced their initial 2019 squad on Friday, Smith was not included.
Melbourne’s 2019 squad
Albert Vete, Felise Kaufusi, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Billy Walters, Jahrome Hughes, Sam Kasiano, Brandon Smith, Jesse Bromwich, Scott Drinkwater, Brodie Croft, Joe Stimson, Suliasi Vunivalu, Cameron Munster, Josh Addo-Carr, Thomas Eisenhuth, Cheyse Blair, Justin Olam, Tino Faasuamaleaui, Christian Welch, Kenny Bromwich, Will Chambers, Curtis Scott, Marion Seve, Dale Finucane, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Tui Kamikamica, Patrick Kaufusi