Melbourne have retained strike centre Reimis Smith until the end of the 2024 NRL season and announced a significant five-year investment in uncapped teenager Jack Howarth.
After four seasons at Canterbury, Smith enjoyed his most consistent NRL campaign in 2021 with the 24-year-old bagging 14 tries in 24 games as the Storm reached the preliminary final.
With star winger Josh Addo-Carr now at the Bulldogs, Smith’s blinding speed and attacking nous will become more important to Melbourne’s backline in the years ahead.
“I’m extremely happy,” Smith said of his new two-year deal on Thursday.
“I’m very grateful to this club and what they’ve done for me so far. I’m looking forward to the future
“I wouldn’t want to be at any other club but the Storm.”
While Melbourne’s playing stocks will be thinned from 2023, with Jesse Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Brandon Smith so far on the move, the purple powerhouse are already reloading.
The Storm have earmarked Howarth, a 19-year-old Australian Schoolboys representative who can play centre or back row, as a key part of their future by locking him down until the end of 2027.
Now a second-year member of Melbourne’s top 30 squad, Howarth is closing in on a first-grade debut.
“I love being part of Storm and love living in Melbourne,” the Queenslander said.
“The coaching staff and the boys are great to be around and are helping me a lot with my footy and life in general. It’s a top-class environment to be part of.
“Footy-wise I’m looking forward to playing a lot more this year and developing my game even more.
“The dream is to wear the purple jersey in the NRL and it’s getting closer but there’s still a lot of work ahead.
“My future is sorted now with a great club for a few more years and I can fully focus in on my footy.”
Meanwhile, the Wests Tigers are expected to finalise a release for 20-year-old centre Reece Hoffman in the coming days.
The junior Queensland representative, who has played just one game for the Tigers, is expected to link up with Canterbury.