Kangaroos skipper eyes rare trophy treble
Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith is aiming to add his name to an illustrious group of Queensland greats by lifting a hat-trick of trophies in a single season when Australia host New Zealand in Townsville on Saturday.
Smith will lead the team out for the first time on home soil since taking over from Darren Lockyer on a permanent basis earlier this year, with the Bill Kelly Cup, presented to the winners of one-off Tests between the two nations, up for grabs at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Having already led Queensland to a seventh straight State of Origin series and Melbourne to the NRL premiership, victory over the Kiwis would see the 29-year-old emulate Allan Langer and Lockyer who did it in 1998 and 2006 respectively.
“It would be pretty special and I have been reminded by Kevvy Walters our assistant down in Melbourne that only two other blokes have done it,” Smith said on Friday.
“I guess the hardest of the three would be the premiership and I was lucky enough to do that.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better year so far also winning the Origin series.
“But I am pretty lucky. I play in three very good football sides with some great footballers and I am just the guy that tosses the coin, leads them out then gets to hold the trophy up if we win.
“It’s a pretty special thing and I hope I have done my part to make those teams successful.”
Much of the focus leading up to the game has been around New Zealand’s selection of giant Canterbury prop Sam Kasiano, but Smith is more concerned by the threat of his Melbourne teammate Jesse Bromwich.
“I may be biased, but Jesse has done a pretty good job,” he said.
“He’s only young, but he is a big reason why we won the premiership. He’s a big powerful man and is now realising what he can do.
“He’s now got a starting spot in the front row for New Zealand and will offer a lot up front.”
With Stephen Kearney opting for size in his forwards, Smith is expecting a physical battle early in the game, but warned the tourists his players won’t take a backward step.
“Traditionally the Kiwis like to be nice and physical early on, ruffle your feathers a bit and try and dominate through the middle,” Smith said.
“But we’ve got a pretty good forward pack ourselves, in Jimmy Tamou, Matty Scott who were the form props at the end of last season.
“You then throw in Paul Gallen, Greg Bird and Nate Myles … they’re no mugs and I think we can handle whatever the Kiwis throw at us.”© AAP 2013