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Roosters re-sign Smith, Watson as NRL cap squeeze looms

Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Connor Watson and Billy Smith have re-signed with the Sydney Roosters as the club tries to determine which of its many off-contract stars can be retained.

Watson has played 59 of his 125 NRL games for the Roosters, whom he rejoined in 2022 after four years with Newcastle.

He missed the entire 2023 season with a patella injury but the club has shown faith in the 27-year-old utility by tying him to a fresh deal that expires at the end of 2025.

"I'm stoked to re-commit to the Roosters for another two years," said Watson.

Smith had a breakout campaign in 2023 after an injury-plagued start to his NRL career that restricted him to only 12 first-grade games between 2019 and the end of 2022.

The 24-year-old centre has signed a one-year extension for 2024 so is able to negotiate with rivals for 2025 at any time.

Smith's form may cause a selection headache at Bondi, where Joey Manu, Daniel Tupou, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii and recruit Dom Young are also vying for spots in the outside backs next season.

"For me personally, 2023 was my best year of footy and I'm excited to build on that in 2024," Smith said.

The signings - the Roosters' first since the player market opened on November 1 - are likely to be followed by more movement at the trade table.

First-grade stalwarts Luke Keary, Manu, Angus Crichton and Nat Butcher are all without deals beyond 2024.

Next-generation stars Terrell May, Naufahu Whyte and Sandon Smith are coming into contract years as well.