News Corporation Journalist Phil Rothfield fears the club will go into “serious decline” if Cameron leaves the Munster Storm.
Munster is contracted to the Storm until the end of 2023, but from November 1 rival clubs can officially make five-eighth offers for the star.
The Dolphins, who will join the competition next year, have made no secret of their interest in Munster, but it won’t be until 2024 if they get him, with the 27-year-old reiterating his commitment to the Hurricanes in July.
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Munster and manager Bright Anasta have given no indication of where the Queensland Origin star’s future lies after next season.
But Rothfield suggested on NRL 360 the Storm could not afford to lose Munster.
Asked if the Hurricanes are slowing down from his mixed form at the back this season, Rothfield said: “It depends on what happens with Cameron Munster.”
“If Munster leave, I think they are definitely in a big slump. “I know they’ve lost two strikers if he stays but I think they’ll be fine if Cameron stays,” he added.
The Hurricanes will see Brandon Smith, Felise Kaufusi and the Bromwich brothers leave at the end of the season, with the former joining the Roosters and the others joining the Dolphins.
Partner News Corporation Journalist Michael Karaianis admits that losing Kaufisi and the Bromwich brothers shouldn’t hurt the Storm too much.
“I think some of the forwards that are going away are at the right age to lose them,” he said.
“They will be hard to replace and they have served well but they are at the end of their careers.”
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However, NRL 360 host Anasta believes this next chapter is “the biggest challenge in their history”.
“We’ve talked about their success for a long time, this is going to be their biggest challenge and I think they’re a little nervous about that,” Anasta said.
“Every year, over the last two decades, they’ve had depth at the club, they’ve had leaders there, they’ve had effective players who can carry that.
Paul Kent added: “And Craig Bellamy only has one more year.
Bellamy has signed a five-year extension through 2021 that will allow him to decide each season whether to stay on as head coach or move up to director of coaching.
In May, Bellamy led the club to three premierships and promised to coach again in 2023.
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