NRL legend Cameron Smith has given the Brisbane Broncos a stern reality check over their failed low-ball bid to lure Storm gun Nicho Hynes to Red Hill.
The Sharks pulled off a major coup earlier this week when they bagged the breakout star on a three-year deal worth $1.8 million.
The 24-year-old's signature had been one of the most sought after this season after he revealed he was willing to leave the Storm if it meant he could secure a starting role elsewhere.
Hynes made it publicly known that the Broncos were one club in particular chasing him among a host of other suitors, but incoming Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon beat the Queenslanders to the punch with the $600,000-a-season offer.
Smith believes the Broncos had no one else to blame but themselves for the missed opportunity after it was revealed the club had only tabled Hynes an offer of around $300,000-a-season.
Smith said that for a club who themselves announced they were desperately in need of some key playmakers, lowballing a rising star who is leading the competition in linebreak assists and is third in try assists was simply not good enough.
"For me, I just feel as though that's heavy unders for a guy that's proven he's a quality playmaker," Smith told SEN Sydney.
"I think he's leading the competition for line-break assists, up in the top three for try assists. This is all from a player playing in a team with quality players. He's a guy that's shining in a team with plenty of bright stars.
"So, for a club like the Broncos, who we know aren't travelling great at the moment, and publicly said they're looking for a playmaker, a guy in a key role to lead the team forward, I've got no idea why they'd offer a bloke like Nicho Hynes $300,000.
"They're not in a position to offer a guy like that $300,000. He went for $1.8 million for three years at Cronulla, that's exactly where he's at right now.
"If he keeps moving in the trajectory he's moved in the past season and a half, in the future he could turn into an $800,000 possibly million-dollar player.
"I know that's a big tag to give someone but that's the way he's moving at the moment. For a team like the Broncos who are chasing a player like that, I just can't believe that would be an offer that they'd table to Nicho Hynes."
It's a lesson the Broncos would be wise to learn from as another tantalising opportunity goes onto the NRL market.
With the recent news St George Illawarra is looking to offload star fullback Matt Dufty for season '22, Storm great Billy Slater urged the Broncos to chase the speedster and make a legitimate offer.
Dufty finished last night's 52-24 win over the Broncos with two tries, four line-break assists and five try assists after returning from a shoulder injury.
"He's been told he's not going to be at the Dragons, which I think is quite strange because I thought you only replace someone if you have someone better," Slater told Nine.
"One thing I do know is Matt Dufty does have a future in this game and there will be a number of clubs looking around and seeing if Matt Dufty fits in … I noticed Darren Lockyer asking some communication questions and writing things down.
"I think he would fit nicely up there at Brisbane. They've got Adam Reynolds going up there, I think Albert Kelly is playing some nice football and you see some of their quality coming through — TC Robati, he's a player, and Selwyn Cobbo on the wing.
"They've got some talent up there. If you put the likes of Dufty that are using the football the way he is, he's certainly going to be a great addition if he goes that way."