Captain Sam Thaiday has backed Brisbane’s big-money pursuit of Cameron Smith and says the Broncos need to recruit more big names to the NRL club to stay competitive.
The Broncos’ chase of Smith represents a marked change in the recruiting policy at Red Hill, with a shift from traditionally procuring their own talent to opening the chequebook for off-contract stars.
Ben Barba has been a key recruit for next season with Melbourne, and Queensland and Australian captain Smith has reportedly been offered a three-year deal worth in excess of $3 million to join Brisbane from 2015.
The massive offer comes after Brisbane made only half-hearted attempts to sign Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
Smith would represent the Broncos biggest signing in their 26-year history and Thaiday said he supported the move.
“I think the Broncos have finally realised you need to go out and buy some big-name players every now and then,” Thaiday told AAP.
“If Cam is one of those players, and his management and the Broncos want to pursue that option, I’m sure everyone at the Broncos would like to have him there.
“He is a great player and personally I think he still has a few more years left in his career.”
There are suggestions Smith would assume the captaincy at Brisbane if he makes the move, a role that Thaiday said he had been enjoying despite the club’s travails of late.
“I’m sure Cam wouldn’t want to come to the Broncos and step on too many toes,” said Thaiday, who will make his boxing debut against giant Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna in Saturday’s Fight for Life event in Auckland.
“I have known him for so many years and he is not that sort of guy. I enjoy the captaincy but if Cam signs it would be up to the club. It is out of my hands.”
Smith could line up alongside Anthony Milford at the Broncos, with the promising Canberra utility to join the club in 2015.
There were moves to have him join Brisbane next season, but Thaiday said that was now unlikely.
“I don’t think he will be with the club in 2014,” Thaiday said.
“I think Canberra will be doing everything they can to keep him down there next year.”