The Storm have been eliminated in the first week of the finals for the first time since 2014, bringing the Munster situation to a head earlier than anticipated now that the Melbourne team’s season is over.
But Smith believes Munster has already made at least one decision – to move on from Melbourne.
“If I’m brutally honest, if he was going to commit to the Storm and extend his contract, he would have done so by now,” Smith told SEN Breakfast.
“He’s been at the club since he was 16 and we’ve heard (manager) Braith Anasta come out and say the Storm offer is in the area it should be
“So what’s holding him back?
“As bad as this may sound for the Storm supporters and myself, I feel like he will be going to the Dolphins.”
While the likes of Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater have all presented challenges for the club following their departures, Craig Bellamy has a massive task ahead of him in replacing the four players who’ll now leave Melbourne following the elimination final loss to Canberra.
Iconic Storm brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich will join experienced back-rower Felise Kaufusi in helping Wayne Bennett launch the new Dolphins franchise, while hooker-turned-utility Brandon Smith will join the Sydney Roosters.
That’s over 580 games of NRL experience departing in one fell swoop.
“They’re four premiership players, four representative players,” Smith said.
“They’re losing a whole heap of experience.
“They’re four players who are also in the starting 13, so it’s a big chunk of their starting side now out of the team.
“This is going to be a big challenge for the club and Craig Bellamy as coach.”
Should Munster confirm Smith’s suspicions and line up his departure for 12 months’ time, the challenge is bound to get even bigger for a side who have maintained a high standard of excellence for so long.