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Brandon Smith has attempted to backpedal on comments that shone a light on the darkside of the highly successful Melbourne Storm, after revealing in a headline-grabbing podcast that some of the club's biggest names played just as hard off the field as they do on it.
In a long interview for the YKTR Sports podcast, the larrikin hooker revealed drinking is "a massive part of the culture" at the premiership heavyweights.
The backlash has been swift with claims the Storm are considering axing Smith from the final year of his deal after he confirmed that he'd be joining the Roosters in 2023.
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In a statement shared by the Storm today, Smith claimed his comments about the club's drinking culture were taken out of context. He apologised for hurting the club but maintained he will continue to be himself.
On the podcast, Smith spoke openly about the club having "so many piss-ups" and detailed a story about 2021 co-captain Dale Finucane, who has joined the Sharks in the off-season, on the drink.
"We have so many piss-ups and it's no secret that piss-ups build relationships, there's a reason I was getting piss fit this whole time," Smith said.
"Because you just start letting loose, you can talk and be yourself. At the Storm bro, drinking is a massive part of the culture.
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Melbourne's Brandon Smith says he was" blown away" by the Sydney Roosters and has made a call on his future but will first meet with Storm coach Craig Bellamy.A free agent for 2023, Smith says he's made a decision on his NRL future but will meet with Storm coach Craig Bellamy before making it public.
"We had beer pong competition at my house and Scott Drinkwater, we were playing beer pong, Dale (Finucane) was blind, and Scott kept pouring vodka into his beer cups and he drank a bottle of vodka in 32 minutes, like a whole bottle and he was so pissed.
"He doesn't realise how strong he is, he grabs you and just manhandles you around and 20 minutes later he's got his shoe and he's spewing into his shoe." © Getty Former Storm back-rower Dale Finucane.
Smith added that drinking built camaraderie at the Storm, and the players felt the bond is closer than other NRL clubs because many of the players are away from home.
"Melbourne is unreal, the people there and all the players we all love each other because we've got no family in Melbourne, most of us," Smith said.
"And all us young fellas, like everyone under 26, all live in Richmond, all live one kilometre away from each other and we're always hanging out with each other, every single day.
"And that's pretty much how I grew up in Waiheke, it's very homely there and I see it.
"Like when Harry (Grant) went to the Tigers he said they just don't have that, don't have that bond because everyone lives so far away from each other, so it's so much different."
Smith is reportedly facing a fine from the NRL over the language he used during the podcast, with the integrity unit investigating.
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