AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 05: Karl Lawton of the Warriors passes the ball out during the round nine NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium on May 5, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors are set to back in duo Wayde Egan and Karl Lawton instead of pursuing out-of-favour Kiwi Brandon Smith, per Stuff.nz.

Smith was made aware by Melbourne Storm that he would be free to assess his options elsewhere for the 2022 season.

While many paired the departing Storm hooker and the Auckland club following the news, Warriors CEO Cameron George was quick to throw his reliance behind his club’s current dummy-half stocks.

“Without a shadow of a doubt he’s certainly a terrific player but our focus is purely 2021. We’ve got some good depth there,” George told Stuff.

“Wayde Egan and Karl Lawton are both quality players and our focus is with them for 2021. We’re really confident with the way they are going that they’re going to add significant value to our overall squad.

“[Smith’s] obviously got a desire to play hooker so from our perspective, that sort of pigeon-holes him into a place where we’ve got depth.”

Both Egan and Lawton proved to be a viable one-two punch, with the latter enjoying a breakout season with the Warriors.

George added his excitement for the pair to flourish under new coach Nathan Brown.

“We’re really, really encouraged by Wayde and Karl,” he said.

“We’re very excited for both those guys and what work ‘Browny’ is going to do with them in the future.”

According to Stuff, Smith isn’t too focused on the idea of moving home and across the Tasman, instead eyeing the No.9 jumper at any NRL rival.

While veteran Cameron Smith is still contemplating his future, Maroons star Harry Grant will return to Victoria following his loan spell with the Tigers and is set to be taken as a priority over Brandon Smith.

1 COMMENT

  1. I understand where they are coming from cause last season towards to the back end of the comp these two did work well together but Brandon Smith is better than them both and would be a huge part in making this team a contender.

    Lawton and or Egan either individually or as a duo are at best a fringe top 10 hooker. with Cook, Koroisau, Grant, McInnes, Hodgson, Friend, B. Smith and Mahoney all clearly better. Then you have the Brailey brothers, Hunt, young Reece Robson and Turpin all arguably better.

    The Warriors may not NEED a hooker but if one of the best young hookers comes available and your in with a chance being his home country and with him being from Waiheke island then you shouldn’t say no to at least looking into it. Brandon is not only young, versatile, extremely hard-working but he’s also a future leader, a premiership winner and not to mention a great locker room presence.
    Warriors throw silly money towards Matt Lodge, Jake Turpin, Dylan Brown, Jahrome Hughes and so on but wouldn’t even look into Smith. It’s so disappointing cause the fans want him and he wouldn’t even be that expensive. I bet we could get him for a contract like 4 years/2.6mil (650k)

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