Roosters, Storm, Brandon Smith, Sam Verrills, contract


The arrival of Brandon Smith at the Roosters is looming, but incumbent Tricolours hooker Sam Verrills says making way for the superstar rake is not in the picture.

Smith has won an NRL premiership, is New Zealand’s Test No.9 and is the reigning Dally M hooker of the year.

Melbourne rates him so highly that he was preferred over the magnificent Harry Grant as the Storm’s chief hooker in 2021.

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It took a well-documented off-season from hell for Smith to be stripped of the mantle.

The 25-year-old is expected to make the Roosters’ No.9 jumper his own in about six months’ time – but Verrills is defiant.

“I know he’s coming… I’m not silly. I know he’s coming,” Verrills told reporters.

“He’s a good player, as well. I’m not dumb about that.

“But I’m definitely going to put my foot forward and try to cement the spot.”

Verrills is contracted to the Roosters until the end of 2024, but on so many occasions what’s written on paper hasn’t stopped a player from departing early.

Nine’s Danny Weidler prodded in the press conference with Verrills, asking if he saw the signing of Smith as a chance to take his rugby league career elsewhere.

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“Definitely not,” Verrills said.

“I only see it as a challenge.”

A broken thumb wiped Verrills from the first five rounds of this season, but the 23-year-old returned for the Roosters’ match against the Warriors on Sunday, won by the Tricolours 22-14.

Drew Hutchison started at hooker in the Warriors clash and Verrills on the bench, but their roles have been reversed for the Roosters’ traditional Anzac Day game against the Dragons.

Verrills has played 34 NRL games since debuting in 2019.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is using Smith as a bench player in the larrikin’s final season at the Storm.

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