NRL 2021: Cameron Smith contract news, Gold Coast Titans pre-season match

The NRL rumour mill is burning again after Cameron Smith was spotted watching on from the grandstand during a Gold Coast Titans pre-season game on Friday night.

The rugby league legend’s sighting came after a week of hard denials from the Titans the 37-year-old won’t be at the club this year as he continues to make up his mind about a potential final season in the NRL.

Smith relocated with his family to Queensland after the Melbourne Storm secured the 2020 NRL premiership in October.

He is currently unemployed after his contract with the club expired last year.

Round 1

But after four months of silence from the veteran hooker, a retirement announcement appears just as likely as a bombshell decision to join a rival club.

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The Cameron Smith era at the Melbourne Storm is officially over

Cameron Smith has officially handed the captaincy torch over at Melbourne Storm and it’s going go take two men to fill the legendary skipper’s boots.

Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane have been confirmed as co-captains after serving as long-time deputies to Smith, who, despite not making any formal announcements, won’t play at the NRL premiers any more.

Smith had been outright captain of Storm since 2008 and was the game’s longest serving captain before moving to Queensland following last year’s Grand Final win, where he is still considering his future in the NRL.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy conceded it was “very unlikely” Smith, who has been linked to the Gold Coast Titans, would return to Melbourne, but while the door remains open, it’s unlikely the future immortal will step through it.

Finucane and Bromwich will officially lead out the team together for the first time in the NRL season opener against South Sydney at AAMI Park on Thursday, March 11.

Bromwich, 31, made his debut for Storm in 2010 and has played 248 matches, headlined by three grand final wins (2012, 2017, 2020).

He has previously captained Storm in Smith’s absence on six occasions and led New Zealand in the 2016 Four Nations tournament and 2017 Anzac Test.

Finucane, 29, played his 200th NRL match in last season’s finals series and has lined up in 135 games for Melbourne since joining the club from Canterbury in 2015.

He has played in six grand finals for two premiership victories (2017 and 2020), made his State of Origin debut for New South Wales in 2019 and again featured in the 2020 Origin series at the end of last season.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Finucane and Bromwich had demonstrated their leadership qualities on and off the field for a number of seasons.

“Jesse and Dale were identified some time ago as possible future captains of our club,” he said.

“Through our leadership program, they have progressed and developed their leadership skills, especially in the last couple of years, and have had a great captain to learn from in Cameron Smith, who was a wonderful leader of our team for so many years.”

Bellay labelled Smith the “the best captain the game has seen in modern times”.

“With it now being very unlikely that Cameron will be part of Storm this year, now is the right time to promote Dale and Jesse to the joint captaincy role to take our club into the future,” he said.

Storm will have a six-man leadership group in 2020 including Cameron Munster, Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Christian Welch.

Hooker Harry Grant, who is set to take over Smith’s on-field position after returning from a year on loan to the Wests Tigers, was also included in Storm’s emerging leaders group.

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Smith hit with $2.1m IPL pay cut

Steve Smith has suffered one of the greatest pay cuts in cricket history with more than $2m stripped from his price tag at the IPL auction while Australian teammates Jhye Richardson and Glenn Maxwell had huge wins.

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Jhye Richardson becomes instant millionaire as Steve Smith cops staggering $2m pay cut in IPL Auction

Steve Smith has taken a massive pay cut in the IPL auction after being the first player sold in the 2021 IPL Auction but Glenn Maxwell has received a big pay rise as Aussie fortunes were mixed in the IPL auction.

But the biggest shock has been the sale of Jhye Richardson with the BBL’s leading wicket taker going for $A2.48m in the auction.

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After the first three players remained unsold, Smith was thrust into the action early with Ricky Ponting’s Delhi Capitals getting the Aussie star in an absolute steal.

Smith is one of the world’s best batsman and was on a kingly deal with the Rajasthan Royals.

He was the skipper of the side but after finishing in last with six wins and eight losses, Smith was cut from the side.

Smith was on a 12.5 crore deal with Rajasthan last season but Delhi picked him up for just 2.2 crore.

In Australian dollars, he went from being retained at $2.5 million last season to $389,290 with the Capitals.

Smith did score 311 runs but at an average of 25.91, it was easily his worst performance in the tournament as he tallied three 50s in the competition.

It could have been worse however with Aussie skipper Aaron Finch’s horror form catching up with him as he was passed in at the auction.

He scored 268 runs at 22.33 and was dropped during the season for Aussie young gun Josh Phillippe.

But it got much worse when he returned to the BBL as he scored just 179 runs in 13 innings at an average of 13.77.

Finch was in good company with Smith the only batsman to go in the first part of the auction, while six all-rounders were sold.

While it was looking bleak for the Aussies, Glenn Maxwell’s price has gone up from $2.2 million last season with the Kings XI Punjab, to going to Royal Challengers Bangalore for more than $A2.5 million (14.25 crore).

It came after Maxwell scored just 108 runs at 15.4 in 13 matches last season.

But he remains one of the biggest hitters in world cricket.

Maxwell was eager to join the team and the likes of AB de Villiers and Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

“I get along with Virat pretty well. It’ll be certainly nice to work under Virat and will certainly enjoy batting with him – that’s for sure,” Maxwell said.

“It will be awesome to work with him, and he’s always been really helpful to me along the journey. Whenever I’ve caught up with him, he’s been brilliant. So to be able to work with him first hand will be pretty cool.”

It appears his dream has come true.

And then the BBL’s leading wickettaker with 29 wickets, Richardson got a massive pay rise after forcing a bidding war.

It’s a lifechanging result for the Aussie who hadn’t played in the IPL before now.

The 292-player auction is underway with 35 Aussies to come although Smith and Maxwell were the only ones looking for the biggest reserve of 200 lakh or $354,577.

The first part of the auction also saw the biggest ever contract in the IPL’s history with South Africa’s Chris Morris going for 16.25 Crore ($A2.87m).

While it wasn’t as big as Pat Cummins’ $3.2m deal last season but that’s down only to the exchange rate as Cummins went for 15.5 Crore.


Steve Smith (Australia) — Delhi Capitals — 2.2 Crore ($A390k)

Glenn Maxwell (Australia) — Royal Challengers Bangalore — 14.25 Crore ($A2.5m)

Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) — Kolkata Knight Riders — 3.2 Crore ($A567k)

Moeen Ali (England) — Chennai Super Kings — 7 Crore ($A1.24m)

Shivam Dube (India) — Rajasthan Royals — 4.4 Crore ($A779k)

Chris Morris (South Africa) — Rajasthan Royals — 16.25 Crore ($A2.9m)

Dawid Malan (England) — Punjab Kings — 1.5 Crore ($265k)

Adam Milne (New Zealand) — Mumbai Indians — 3.2 Crore ($A567k)

Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) — Rajasthan Royals — 1 Crore ($A177k)

Jhye Richardson (Australia) — Kings XI Punjab — 14 Crore ($A2.5)

Nathan Coulter-Nile (Australia) — Mumbai Indians — 5 Crore ($A885k)

Umesh Yadav (India) — Delhi Capitals — 1 Crore ($A177k)


Aaron Finch, Alex Carey


$265,872 — 150 lakh — Shaun Marsh

$177,248 — 100 lakh — Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Jason Behrendorff, Billy Stanlake, Matthew Wade

$132,936 — 75 lakh — Ben Cutting, Dan Christian, Hilton Cartwright, James Faulkner

$88,656 — 50 lakh — Ben McDermott, Sean Abbott, Joel Paris, Jack Wildermuth

$70,925 — 40 lakh — Riley Meredith, Brendan Doggett, Mark Steketee

$53,193 — 30 lakh — Ben Dwarshuis, Chris Green

$35,462 — 20 lakh — Wes Agar, Josh Inglis, Nathan Ellis, Tanveer Sangha, Max Bryant, Jake Weatherald, Matt Kelly, Tim David, Aaron Hardie, Nathan McAndrew

AUSTRALIANS IN THE IPL (Auctioned players in bold)

Steve Smith — Delhi Capitals

Glenn Maxwell — Royal Challengers Bangalore

Jhye Richardson —

Josh Hazlewood — Chennai Super Kings

Marcus Stoinis — Delhi Capitals

Daniel Sams — Delhi Capitals (traded to RCB)

Pat Cummins — Kolkata Knight Riders

Chris Lynn — Mumbai Indians

Andrew Tye — Rajasthan Royals

Josh Philippe — Royal Challengers Bangalore

Adam Zampa — Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kane Richardson — Royal Challengers Bangalore

David Warner — Sunrisers Hyderabad

Mitch Marsh — Sunrisers Hyderabad

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Steve Smith showed why he’s the one-day player of the year with a century for NSW

The storyline was supposed to be about Pat Cummins’ debut as captain for NSW.

Instead Steve Smith stole the show in the only way he knows how with a century against Victoria in the Test star’s first bat since the series against India ended last month.

Smith, who was crowned Australian ODI Player of the Year and the Allan Border Medallist last week, was out in the middle in the first over at North Sydney Oval as the domestic one-day competition began.

In his first match for NSW since last summer, Smith brought up his century off just 114 balls.

Smith was finally out for 123, after smashing Test quick James Pattinson for two sixes and a four in the 49th over, finishing with nine fours and six sixes.

Cummins also made a special cameo with the bat, hitting three sixes himself in a 30-ball innings of 49 to get NSW to 9-318 after 50 overs.

Smith’s innings came on the back of dual 100s for Australia against India in the ODI series last November, a run spree which helped him clinch the ODI player of the year award.

The postponement of the Test series in South Africa has been a boost for the domestic competition with all national players now available to represent their states.

Smith was playing in a NSW team captained by Pat Cummins, with Test spinner Nathan Lyon also in the line-up.

But fast bowlers Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood were rested ahead of a Sheffield Shield clash against the Vics starting on Wednesday.

Test opener David Warner’s return remains under a cloud as he continues to recover from the groin injury which limited him to two Tests against India.

First-gamer Ollie Davies also continued the form which earned the rising start a Big Bash reputation for smashing sixes, clearing the ropes three times in lightning innings of 57 from 41 balls.

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Car crash cleared at Kingsford Smith Drive and Ginninderra Drive, Melba | The Canberra Times

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Emergency services have cleared the scene of a car crash in Melba this morning. The incident took place about 7am at the intersection of Kingsford Smith Drive and Ginninderra Drive. ACT Fire and Rescue, ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Policing were on scene, but traffic has since returned to normal. The ESA asked the community to proceed with caution just after 8am.


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Alan Smith column: Mikel Arteta must pick Gabriel Martinelli for physical Leeds test


hough it goes against the image of today’s sophisticated, highly tactical game, some very basic instructions never go out of fashion. Run around, put yourself about, don’t let your opponent work harder than you.

You might hear these directives yelled down the park on a Sunday, but they also remain fundamental at the very highest level. If you don’t put it in, cover the hard yards, even the richest talent can disappear down the plughole. Without wishing to go over old ground, Mesut Ozil sadly became an example of that.

I only mention this because Leeds are coming to town. Yes, Leeds — the newly-promoted side sitting comfortably in mid-table after being battered by some and thrashing others. If ever there were a necessity to work incredibly hard, Marcelo Bielsa’s side demand that from opponents.

Rarely have a team down the years run around so much. They never stop, just keep on going to test your fitness and appetite. Nothing complicated here. If Mikel Arteta’s players can match Bielsa’s for sheer hunger, their superior quality should eventually shine through.

Mind you, that’s not to say Leeds don’t have talent of their own. Raphinha, for example, is purring. The Brazilian is making his job look easy with a silky touch and keen football brain. With Kieran Tierney missing again, Raphinha’s tussle with Cedric Soares could be one to watch. Handling the in-form Patrick Bamford might be another key point. Twelve League goals at this point is far from shabby for a striker who has in the past needed too many chances to score. But the way he casually took his opportunity against Crystal Palace on Monday speaks of a player on top of his game.

For Arteta, then, team selection becomes crucial in trying to counter this unique challenge. Who wants to run? Who wants to fight? Just one idle attitude can topple the house of cards at a time when Arsenal badly need a morale-boosting win. For that reason, I would go with the energy of Gabriel Martinelli rather than the laid-back style of Pepe who, for all his improvements, does not react quickly enough when Arsenal lose the ball.

Getting back into shape must happen pretty sharpish against rampaging visitors.

At Elland Road in November, Arsenal somehow escaped with a goalless draw after Pepe had stupidly got himself sent off. That came at the start of a desperate run when defeats kept on coming throughout December. Arteta cannot afford anything remotely similar. This time, Leeds must mark the beginning of something much better.

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This is familiar territory for Palace. Safe from relegation but unlikely to clamber out of that group just above the drop-zone. This is no-man’s-land, where the main aim is trying to improve on last season. That means beating 43 points — not out of the question for a team on 29 with 15 games left. Palace are a better team now, certainly going forward after Eberechi Eze’s arrival. Burnley might also help here, seeing as they have scored fewer goals than anyone in the top flight on their travels this season. The one reservation is the absence of Wilfried Zaha. Without him, the Eagles have lost 17 of their last 19 League games, failing to score in all but two of those defeats.

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I wonder how Jose Mourinho will react to that 5-4 defeat by Everton. Revert to type, perhaps? Try to shut up shop like he recently tried against Chelsea? Well, we know how that turned out. Mourinho might argue his players proved at Goodison Park they are not good enough to play open, expansive football. The approach leads to mistakes that end up costing the game. There is no doubt Spurs are making too many errors, with Hugo Lloris more guilty than most. It would be a big call to leave out the club captain, especially as the back-up does not totally convince. That said, picking Joe Hart to face his old club might appeal to a manager searching for ideas.

Everton v Fulham (Sunday, 7pm)

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With an eight-point gap between them and safety, this is do or die for Scott Parker’s team. Draws are no good. They have had nine already. It is time to go for broke before the situation turns hopeless. To achieve any success, Fulham must find some composure when it comes to picking the final pass or having a crack at goal. That poise was missing in the goalless draw with West Ham. On too many occasions, they chose the wrong option or snatched at a chance. To be fair, that usually happens in this predicament. The brain becomes fuddled at the vital moment. So something must change in the next few weeks. If it does not happen at Everton, games against Burnley, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace offer a final chance.

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NRL 2021: Teams Round 1, every squad, player signings, contracts, Cameron Smith, Andrew McCullough, rosters

Thursday marks one month (four weeks) to the kick off of the 2021 NRL season.

That means time is running out for clubs to finalise their playing rosters and sneak in any last-minute deals that might be bubbling away behind the scenes.

They need to have 28 players contracted before March, and 30 on the list by the end of July. That’s not including development players, who aren’t counted in the first-grade squad.

While most clubs already have the required 28 to 30 players sewn up, there’s a couple of competition heavy hitters who are poised to make some signings before February ends.

Round 1

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The Cameron Smith situation is becoming absurd, like you knew it would

Selfish? Unnecessarily dramatic? Hurting his legacy, as many have argued, including former player Mark Geyer? Hardly, although it’s quite interesting to see Smith bend people completely out of shape by saying nothing.

He’s not saying anything to this column, failing to return carefully-worded text messages in search of the big questions: So, how was your Christmas? How are Barb and the kids? What are you doing with the rest of your life because I’m sick of people asking me a question I don’t know the answer to?

Cameron Smith is yet to make a decision — or announcement at least — about his future.Credit:Getty

Smith’s manager, Isaac Moses, is mystified by the interest in his star client and wonders what all the fuss is about.

Come on, Isaac. That’s naive at best. People are genuinely interested in the playing future of arguably the greatest player of the modern era, whether he’s retiring or playing one last season for the Titans, who suddenly become a top-four team with Smith playing for them.

Smith loathes a media conference. We all know that. People at the Storm would chuckle when teammate Cooper Cronk held media calls to announce he’d extended a contract while Smith genuinely couldn’t understand why he had to answer questions from hacks in the press when he retired from representative football. He thought a simple media release would suffice.

It’s already been intimated to me that when Smith does make a decision, it will likely be announced via social media.

The delay, it seems, is because he doesn’t know himself. Smith is 37 years old but showed last year, to himself as much as anyone, that he’s still one of the best players in the competition.

He is more than capable of doing for the Titans what Brady, at 43, has done with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who meet the Chiefs in Monday morning’s Super Bowl.

Whenever we chatted about The End throughout last year, Smith said he was torn between knowing he still has the mind and body to compete at the highest level and the fear of getting halfway through a final season and realising he’d gone one season too long.


If Smith does decide to play, he won’t be playing at Melbourne. That much is clear. He’s not leaving anyone at the Storm in the lurch, although coach Craig Bellamy fuelled the fire on Sunday when he told our good friends at News Corp that Smith’s locker remains untouched at AAMI Park.

That little morsel suggested the club was keeping the porch light on in case their captain decided he wanted to play for them one more time.

Internally, the Storm have known for months Smith’s time in purple is over. They haven’t cleared out his locker out of respect. Until they fill the remaining three spots on their roster, there’s no need to box up his belongings and leave it at the front desk.

What they are waiting for is Smith to make an announcement about his future before announcing either Jesse Bromwich or Dale Finucane as captain for 2021.

The Titans are being as cagey about their interest in Cameron Smith as Cameron Smith is about anything to do with Cameron Smith.

The word before Christmas was that they were confident of signing him — but less so now with the start of the NRL season just 38 days away.

What’s relevant is that Titans can sign him, without having to move players on or loan them out to clear space in the salary cap.

Sources at the NRL have told this column that there is enough room to accommodate Smith at market value, which is determined by numerous factors including how much interest there has been from other clubs.

Smith was on about $800,000 plus external deals last year. The Titans are rumoured to have about $650,000 left in their cap for 2021.

So all that’s left is to sit and wait and watch his Instagram account, waiting for an answer that may never come. Maybe Smith will never announce his retirement, just because he doesn’t have to.

Perhaps Byron, a truck driver I ran into in Kings Cross on Monday morning, summed up the situation best.

“What’s Cameron Smith doing?” Byron, a Sea Eagles fan, asked. “Is he retiring?”

“No, idea. It’s becoming a soap opera, isn’t it?”

“Ha! When isn’t rugby league a soap opera?”

Byron, it must be said, makes a very salient point.

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NRL 2021: Brandon Smith release, Melbourne Storm, Harry Grant, hooker, Craig Bellamy, Cameron Smith retirement

Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith has opened up on the reasons behind his pending release and how coach Craig Bellamy responded to his shock request.

The Storm confirmed in December that Smith had been “given approval to explore opportunities with other NRL clubs” for the 2022 season — the final year of his contract.

It’s understood the Bulldogs, Titans, Broncos and Wests Tigers have all expressed interest in the fiery hooker’s services, however Melbourne will require a player of similar standard in return in order to let him go.

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Round 1

The 24-year-old has played understudy to skipper Cameron Smith ever since he joined in the club in 2017. It was expected he would one day inherit the famous Storm No.9 jersey once his namesake retired but after Harry Grant’s sublime season, the curious case of Melbourne’s next hooker isn’t so clear-cut anymore.

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