Storm Re-Sign Young Guns

Hot on the heels of Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy re-signing with the National Rugby League club earlier this week, several of the Storm?s young guns, including Queensland hooker Cameron Smith, have re-signed today.

Smith, along with back-rower Ryan Hoffman and centre Matt King have all signed with the Storm less than 48 hours after Bellamy inked a three-year contract extension, keeping him in Melbourne until at least 2007.

20-year-old Smith has signed on for a further three years meaning he too will be with the club until at least 2007, while both Hoffman and King have committed to two-year deals.

Smith took all before him in his debut NRL season last year, playing a vital role in the Storm?s fifth-placed finish and making a stunning State-of-Origin debut for Queensland.

According to one of the game?s most exciting prospects, leaving Melbourne at the end of 2004 was never an option.

?I didn?t really want to change clubs and I was keen to continue to cement my spot here in Melbourne,? Smith said.

?There?s a really good bunch of blokes at the club and a feeling that we can perhaps achieve something special in the years to come.

?Melbourne is a really good city with good people and great supporters, which certainly contributed to my decision.?

Smith believes Melbourne?s extensive crop of young guns points to a bright future in the southern capital.

?Last season when we had a long list of injuries, the younger guys stepped up and showed that we can play,? Smith added.

?With the next breed of players coming through in Melbourne I think everyone should be excited with what?s going to happen down here in the future.?

His commitment to a contract extension was finalised following Bellamy?s re-signing midweek.

?When Craig signed on for another three years it was definitely an incentive to stay with him and with the club,? Smith said.

?Since he?s joined the club there?s been a different feel around the place and some of the older guys are saying it feels like 1999 again in some ways.

?Hopefully if we can play well enough we might get a premiership down the track but I?m just happy to stay for another three years.

?Craig is all about attitude and work ethic and that?s what I like about him.?

Hoffman, a Junior Kangaroo, and King, acquired by Melbourne halfway through last year, are set for big things with the Storm.

After breaking into the NRL for the Storm?s final four matches last year, King is intent on cementing his place in the side while Hoffman is looking to build on a excellent debut season that saw him play 14 first-grade games in 2003.

The Storm finalise preparations for Sunday?s season opener against the Newcastle Knights (Olympic Park, 2.30pm) with a training session tomorrow morning at Olympic Park (11am).

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