Melbourne Storm comfortable with Cameron Smith taking as long as he wants to decide future
Melbourne Storm comfortable with Cameron Smith taking as long as he wants to decide future

Storm sets contract clock to Cam time

Melbourne Storm remains at peace with Cameron Smith taking as much time as he needs to decide what to do next season.

Smith's decision was spoken about briefly on Tuesday during a lengthy Storm board meeting.

News Corp has established Storm powerbrokers resolved to give the future Immortal the time and space to make the landmark decision.

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All options remain on the table as Smith weighs up playing on, be it at Storm or another club, or retirement after 19 unparalleled NRL seasons.

It is unlikely the selfless skipper would make any announcement in coming days that would compromise the preparation for Friday night's blockbuster against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

But Storm on Tuesday took the first steps towards shoring up its 2021 squad, with Ryley Jacks, Nicho Hynes and Darren Schonig handed one-year extensions.

The trio could end up playing important roles this season as the Storm injury crisis worsens by the week seemingly.

With Brandon Smith (jaw) sidelined until the finals, silky playmaker Hynes has a golden opportunity to cement a spot on the interchange rotation.

Schonig has claims, too, with Nelson Asofa-Solomona (calf) joining Fijian prop Tui Kamikamica (back) in the rehabilitation group.

Musclebound former teachers' aide and nightclub bouncer Schonig has developed quickly into a reliable forward and won over fans in the process.

"If I got the chance (to play finals) I'd take it with two hands," Schonig said.

"I'd be stoked to be able to get that, see how the next few weeks pan out.

"We do have a few of the regular boys … coming back soon, we'll just have to see how it works out."

Mullet wearer Schonig could not be proud his rise to the top squad has coincided with an infiltration of rude haircuts, with the forward dobbing in Marion Seve as the team "barber".

The business upfront and party in the back do has been somewhat rewarding off the field, too, with Schonig being mistaken lately for Storm sensation and mullet copycat Ryan Papenhuyzen.

"I'm pretty happy the boys have taken after me a bit in that regard," Schonig said.

"He's still got a little while to go to be as long (as mine) but I think it's a good look for him.

"I've had a couple people actually mistaken me for him, saying 'Gee you look fast on TV, Darryn' … it's definitely not a bad thing."

Originally published as Storm sets contract clock to Cam time