Storm divided on Smith’s retirement hint
Cameron Munster insists he and Melbourne's next generation of stars are ready to step up and take the club forward as Cameron Smith contemplates his NRL future.
Smith admitted last Friday he could consider retiring alongside Billy Slater - both born on the same day in Queensland in June 1983 - if the Storm become the first team to win back-to-back premierships in the NRL era by beating the Sydney Roosters in the grand final on Sunday.
If that was to be the case, it would come as a shattering blow to the Storm who would see Cooper Cronk, Slater and Smith all exit AAMI Park in the space of 12 months.
"We obviously had the big three, (so) if we lost both of them this year it would be a huge blow for us," Munster said.
"But in saying that we've got some great young depth coming through.
"We've got Brandon Smith playing hooker. He's an enthusiastic little bloke when he comes on the field and brings a lot of energy.
"And we've got Brodie Croft. He's come in and helped himself out and worked on some things he's needed to work.
"I guess us young blokes have got to step up.
"Even me and Jesse (Bromwich) and some of the leadership boys have got to fill the gap for them two boys if they hang the boots up."
Munster, 24, has shown signs of being able to lead the Storm into the future and has arguably been their best player this season - leading the club for try assists and linebreak assists and having also busted through 65 tackles.
Melbourne players are split on where Smith's future lies after the off-contract 35-year-old said it was also still his intention to play on next year in last week's puzzling press conference.
Munster said he could understand why Smith could make the decision to walk away, after what would be a record 384-game career in which he has achieved virtually everything possible.
"If we do end up winning on Sunday it will probably be a good note to go out on but in saying that he's still got a massive achievement of making 400 games," Munster said.
"He doesn't want to go on too far. He doesn't know if he'll get another opportunity.
"If we win this year, hopefully, it would be great to go out on it to be honest."
Meanwhile, fellow retiring Storm player Ryan Hoffman said Smith hadn't spoken to him about stepping away.
"I just think the question was posed to him. I don't think he is seriously contemplating it but that's just me personally," he said.
"I just think he still wants to play."