Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith has been tipped to play on in 2020 with teammate Brandon Smith suggesting the 411-game NRL veteran is "playing" with the media over his potential retirement.
Smith, 36, shocked the rugby league world when he announced he was unsure if he would see out the final year of his Storm contract after they were beaten by the Sydney Roosters in the preliminary final.
Coach Craig Bellamy then told the audience at the Dally M Awards in October Smith was genuinely considering retiring and his future was up in the air.
Smith, who was named 2019 captain of the year, didn't attend the awards ceremony due to a virus.
However, his 23-year-old understudy Brandon Smith has told AAP he does not see the game's most-capped player hanging up his boots just yet.
"He did this last year too but he ended up signing for an extra two years," New Zealander Smith said.
"It's always funny when Cameron likes to play with the media. It's up to him really.
"I'm happy to sit out for another year and watch him play because he's a great guy.
"I love being around him and his family, they're unreal people. I love learning from him.
"With all due respect, I think this is all a bit of a [game] and he's going to play next year.
"The fire is still in the belly, I think, for Cameron.
"Knowing him as a guy and as a friend I think he still wants to play."
The young Kiwis hooker is in line to replace Smith in the No.9 jersey should the captain announce a shock retirement before he is due to return to Storm training prior to Christmas.
Having spent the past two seasons as a bench player and understudy to arguably the game's greatest player, Smith said he is happy to bide his time and is open to a positional switch if it is best for the team.
"We have another young guy Harry Grant coming through who, in my opinion, if he was playing in the NRL would be in the top five hookers in the competition," Smith said.
"The versatility will help me; I could progress on and be a lock for the Storm for the rest of my life.
"I don't really mind."
Australian Associated Press