Cameron Munster would become “the king of Brisbane” if he switched to the NRL’s looming expansion club, Andrew Johns says.

Cameron Munster would become “the king of Brisbane” if he switched to the NRL’s looming expansion club, rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns says.

Test playmaker Munster is contracted at Melbourne until the end of 2023, yet last week expressed interest in returning to Queensland.

The Maroons State of Origin superstar tops the shopping list for prospective new franchises, eyeing off possible admission for the NRL’s 2023 season.

A new club could make a statement with a mega-offer for Munster, something that Johns believes the Storm would not do.

“They won’t, because they won’t mess with their salary cap. They won’t pay [overs],” Johns said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth.

“If he goes to Brisbane, he’s the king of Brisbane, like Locky (Darren Lockyer) was. All that corporate support he would get up there.

“I love watching him play and I love how he lives his life. Live and let live.

“He’s a footy player. He competes, he just wants the ball in his hands and he doesn’t play with a safety net. He doesn’t care about making an error.”

Munster is a champion player who has won two premierships with Melbourne, yet is also a renowned larrikin.

“He would have to taper his lifestyle if he goes to Brisbane,” NSW coach Brad Fitter suggested on Freddy and the Eighth.

Johns, once the king of Newcastle, replied: “Maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe they like that, the Queenslanders. Maybe that’s why we love him, because he is what he is.”

Fittler: “It’s very hard to be a scallywag these days. Look at Toby Rudolf. Poor old Toby got pasted.”

Johns: “After Origin III, he said, ‘I’m going down to Byron Bay with this and that, with Fisher, the DJ. Get down to Byron Bay!’ Byron Bay coppers were going, ‘Oooh no, here comes Munster’. But nothing happened from that.”

Fittler said that wherever Munster signed his next NRL contract, he would be well compensated.

“He’ll have a lot of options, a lot of opportunity,” Fittler said.

“There’ll be good money for him to make. I believe he’s got a couple of businesses down in Melbourne. He just seems like he’s out there having a crack.”

Cameron Munster

The leading contenders to become the NRL’s 17th franchise are Redcliffe Dolphins (who have lodged a ‘Brisbane Dolphins’ trademark), the Brisbane Jets (a coalition of Brisbane Bombers and Ipswich Jets) and the Brisbane Firehawks (backed by Easts Tigers).

“If another Brisbane team comes in, I won’t say no to going back home,” Munster told News Corp.

“I do see myself moving to Queensland after football and if a second Brisbane team comes in, I could go back earlier than expected.

“I wouldn’t say no to that (joining a second Brisbane team) … for sure.”

Munster, 26, re-signed with Melbourne in late 2018 for an estimated $850,000 per season. He had offers of up to $1 million per season elsewhere.

Munster will be off-contract at the Storm in November 2022, meaning he could be signed with the new Brisbane team in advance of the 2023 season. He would still be contracted to Melbourne for 2023 unless he sought a release.

Munster is now the centrepiece of the Melbourne side, with Cameron Smith having just retired. He would warrant a big contract at the Storm but as Johns suggested, the club may be unwilling to match a blockbuster offer from the new club.

A Rockhampton product, Munster debuted with the Storm in 2014 and was a premiership player in 2017 and 2020. He has played 132 NRL games for Melbourne, plus 10 Origins for Queensland and four Tests for Australia.

Melbourne face the Parramatta Eels in Round Two at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night.

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