Melbourne captain Cameron Smith insists his decision to play on next NRL season won't rest on Billy Slater's own plans to forego retirement in 2019.
In a year when the defending premiers will have to make do without long-time halfback Cooper Cronk, Smith, Slater and coach Craig Bellamy are all off-contract in November.
The 34-year-old Smith is adamant he won't be rushed into making a call, and he won't be swayed by the possibility of both him and Slater hanging up the boots at the same time.
A dual retirement would likely bring the end of arguably the greatest dynasty in the NRL era, headed by the so-called 'big three' and coach Bellamy.
"You could probably say that, but we've got some pretty handy guys coming through in our positions as well," Smith said on Thursday at the NRL season launch.
"I know Cameron Munster's been playing five-eighth, but he's a very talented fullback. We've seen that when Billy was injured for a couple of years.
"Brandon Smith is now at the club playing dummy-half, (you've) probably seen a couple of his matches last year. He was outstanding. The club has got huge wraps on him and so do I."
After another shortened pre-season due to World Cup commitments, the Kangaroos' and Queensland skipper will wait until the season kicks off before considering his future.
He also said he had no intentions of trying to find out whether Slater, who will join Smith in turning 35 in June, will pursue another deal and attempt to stagger their exits from the game.
"I don't know when he'll decide what he's doing. He might wait until the last game of this year to decide what he's doing, like he did last year," Smith said.
"No one knew last year until after the grand final, including the coaches and his teammates.
"If the discussion arises around my future sometime soon, and I'm happy to go ahead with those discussions, I'll have those discussions without knowing what Billy's doing."
After a record-breaking 2017 including a premiership, State of Origin win, World Cup triumph and Dally M medal, Smith is keen on helping the Storm claim back-to-back trophies.
Not since Brisbane in 1992-93 has a club won consecutive premierships in a unified league.
"There's no doubt there's a huge target on our back this year, but I think we can go one of two ways with it," he said.
"We can embrace that challenge or we could fear it a bit and shy away from it. I'd like to think that we're embracing it. We've set a challenge for ourselves to go out and be as consistent as we were last year."