Meninga breaks silence on Smith Titans saga
Gold Coast culture boss Mal Meninga has broken his silence on the Cameron Smith saga, insisting the Storm champion will not finish his career at the Titans.
Speaking exclusively to News Corp, Meninga has for the first time addressed rumours Smith is poised to join the Titans this season - emphatically shutting the door on speculation the 430-game legend will run out for one final season with the Gold Coast.
Smith's possible defection to the Titans hit overdrive on Tuesday when he was spotted training around the league fields at Firth Park in Mudgeeraba, but Meninga said there was no chance he will wear Gold Coast colours.
There are now two options left for Smith: NRL retirement or a fairytale return to the Broncos club that tried to sign him as a teenager.
"We haven't talked to Cam Smith, that is 100 per cent fact," Meninga said.
"It really is that simple.
"There is all sorts of talk about him living on the Gold Coast and playing for us, but we haven't spoken to him.
"I don't have any idea what Cam is doing. I don't know if he's retiring. I'm in the dark like everyone else. But I know he won't be at the Titans.
"Look, the reality is he is a Melbourne boy and the Storm have some very powerful businessmen.
"Because he was down at Mudgeeraba in a light blue shirt kicking a footy around in boots people want to think he's going to sign with the Titans.
"I wasn't behind the toilet shed trying to sign him I can tell you.
"He won't be with us, simple as that."
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Smith's future has become of the most mysterious narratives in NRL history. The 37-year-old's Storm deal expired in November but he has yet to formally announce his retirement, despite being chaired off Suncorp Stadium by Melbourne teammates during last year's finals series.
Smith is now living full-time on the Gold Coast with his wife and three children.
The NRL salary-cap auditor has not received paperwork from any NRL club wishing to register Smith for the 2021 season. The Titans are one club with the salary-cap space to afford Smith, while the Broncos have around $600,000 in their cap.
Last month, Storm coach Craig Bellamy revealed the club had yet to clear out Smith's locker in case he returns for another season.
"As I said, and I ain't going to take it back now, he deserves the right to make his decision when he wants," he said.
"We have planned for him to be here and for him to not be here.
"I haven't heard anything from him. I'm not quite sure what he's up to. He'll make that decision when he's ready.
"It's no strain at all. Not with me, I haven't heard any of that. I'm not a hypocrite and I've said it all along he's earned the right to make that decision when he wants.
"He's not here at the moment so we're moving along with our preparation for the season without him. When he makes a decision, if we have to change something then we'll change it.
"His locker is still there with his photo up on it. I don't think anyone will clean it out. No-one is game to look in there.
"The guy that washes the training gear has put some of the new training gear in there for Cam so we'll see what happens."
Originally published as Meninga breaks silence on Smith Titans saga