The Melbourne Storm has made Cameron Munster a deal that he could not refuse, which includes job security until the end of 2023.
Job security in the NRL, contract or not, is nothing to be taken for granted, as Munster has to stay healthy for the next five seasons in order to maximise his contract.
Munster, it would seem, was the beneficiary of the leeway the Storm gained when Billy Slater retired and Cooper Cronk went to the Sydney Roosters following the 2017 NRL Premiership competition.
Munster is just 24 and made his debut with Melbourne in 2014. He has played 89 games in the NRL and was a four-time State of Origin player for Queensland, along with two caps for Australia.
Melbourne had to take steps in order to prevent the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters from swooping in when Munster went off contract following 2019.
Early speculation is that Munster will be paired with Brodie Croft in the halves and many expert observers feel that Slater’s fullback slot will go to Jahrome Hughes.
Munster told New Corp Australia that he never had any intentions of leaving Melbourne. “To be completely honest, I was never going to go. It’s the first club that gave me the opportunity to play football so I knew I needed to repay them.”
Loyalty in the free agency era is refreshing, although Munster does not have to give Melbourne any money in the bargain.
The other Cameron for the Storm, skipper Smith, is still on the market for 2019, but there are no dummies at Storm headquarters and the forecast is that he will have a new deal in place before 2019 gets underway.
A hang-up, temporarily at least, is that Smith would like a new deal for two years, while the club is interested in a one-year term.
Slater expects Smith to stay, but it is not hard to see why Melbourne would be reluctant to commit two years to its 35-year-old skipper.