The Roosters have re-signed Billy Smith on a three-year extension just hours after it emerged that former Golden Boot winner Joseph Manu was on the verge of quitting rugby league to link with French rugby at the end of the season.
Thursday’s bombshell revelation is yet to be officially confirmed, but it will be a major blow even if it’s a short-term stint overseas given Manu is one of the best players in the world in several positions.
It’s not like the Tricolours lack strike power out wide with Daniel Tupou and new recruit Dom Young on the wings, with Smith’s decision to extend his stay a terrific reward for his breakout 2023 season.
The young centre signed a 12-month extension back in November but is now locked in until the end of the 2027 season.
“I’ve often spoken about how grateful I am any chance I get to represent the Sydney Roosters and to know that I’m going to be here for at least another three years is something I’m stoked about,” he said.
“The club has always had a lot of belief in me, and I know that my best footy is still ahead of me. I can’t wait for what’s to come and I’m looking forward to continuing to play my role for the team.”
It’s great news for Smith who made his NRL debut in 2019 but played just 12 games across the next four years as a string of devastating knee injuries kept him sidelined.
The strike centre showed why the club had so much faith in him with four tries from 15 appearances last season, including playing much of their finals game against Cronulla with a broken jaw.
With the local junior’s future now secure, it’s expected the Roosters will soon announce Luke Keary’s new deal with the veteran playmaker reportedly on the verge of putting pen to paper.
“This extension is testament to the hard work Billy puts in every day,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
“He is Eastern Suburbs through and through, and no one can ever question his dedication to the team, or his resilience, so it’s great to have Billy locked in for another three years.”