The Mole exclusive column; Brandon Smith’s future at Sydney Roosters, NSWRL referee issues

The Brandon Smith saga at the Sydney Roosters is far from over despite players and officials all saying the politically correct things to the media.

Smith was issued with a breach notice by the club for missing a team meeting last week. But that issue is the tip of the iceberg – Roosters officials and players are both fed up with Smith’s antics and want him out of the club.

The star hooker hasn’t settled into Sydney life – on or off the field – since leaving Melbourne at the start of last season.

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The Roosters paid a fortune for his services, but now would be more than happy for another club to take him off their hands.

Brandon Smith pictured playing for the Sydney Roosters in 2023.

Brandon Smith pictured playing for the Sydney Roosters in 2023. Getty


Another bloke in hot water is former Origin and Test forward Trent Merrin.

Merrin was arrested and charged by police after allegedly breaching an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order last Friday.

The former Dragons star made a statement that he was merely passing by his ex-partner’s house to see if it had sold.

But police sources have told me there is a LOT more to the charge and that it should come out at Merrin’s court appearance next week.

It’s a complicated case – and legal reasons prevent me from giving the details – but it is one that will make the front pages of newspapers around the country once all the circumstances come to light.

Trent Merrin

Trent Merrin Getty


Remember Dean Whare, the former Test centre who began his NRL career with Manly way back in 2010.

Whare went on to have a distinguished career with the Sea Eagles and Panthers and Catalans, London and Pia Donkeys in Europe – as well as 20 games for the Kiwis.

Now 34, Whare is making a comeback with the Glebe Dirty Reds in the Ron Massey Cup – and judging by reports of his debut last weekend in the 24-20 win over Ryde at Wentworth Park over the weekend, Whare still has what it takes.

New Zealand centre Dean Whare.

Dean Whare in the 2013 World Cup final. 


NSW Country rugby league referees have gone on strike – fearing for their lives in an ever-increasing wave of violence and intimidation in the bush.

Referees and touch judges in Groups 10 and 11 – a massive area from Lithgow to Nyngan – refused to handle games last weekend after a series of unsavoury incidents.

Games were only able to go ahead when the NSW Rugby League sent match officials from Sydney to handle the games.


An NRL referee pictured during Indigenous Round.

An NRL referee pictured during Indigenous Round. Getty