Cameron Smith announces shock representative retirement

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    Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australian captain Cameron Smith has dropped a bombshell on Tuesday afternoon by announcing his retirement from representative football, effective immediately.

    The 34-year-old called a press conference alongside Queensland coach Kevin Walters at 1pm (AEST) in Melbourne today, where he confirmed the news.

    Smith told the press it was a long process in making the decision, but after not being able to back up after Origin for the Storm in 2017 and a long season ending with the World Cup, he made the decision to call it quits.

    “It’s been a fairly lengthy process for me to come to this decision. I started having some small thoughts about finishing up my representative career last year,” said Smith.

    “Right now, this year is the right time to finish up.

    “Last year more than any other year, the Origin series had an effect on me, both physically and mentally out of any year that I’ve played. I’m very proud of my ability to back up after Origin matches.

    “From a personal point of view, I would have loved to have played on for longer, but it’s not a perfect world.”

    The veteran hooker has been a permanent fixture in rep footy since he made his debut and has since gone onto play 42 matches for Queensland and 56 for Australia, being involved in all 11 of the Maroons’ State of Origin successes over the last 12.

    Of his 42 matches for Queensland’s State of Origin team, Smith has been captain in 21 and holds the record for most Origin victories for a single player with 26.

    Since making his Origin debut in 2003, Smith has missed just a single match through injury in 2008. Matt Ballin was his replacement on that occasions, although who comes into the side this time around is much less certain.

    Three players would seem to be the most natural replacements: Brisbane’s Andrew McCullough, North Queensland’s Jake Granville and Sydney’s Jake Friend. However, with Friend battling poor form and a sternum injury, and Granville’s Cowboys in a funk, McCullough would seem to be the frontrunner.

    One of the side’s other veterans is likely to take the mantle of Queensland captain from Smith, with Billy Slater and Greg Inglis sure to be in the running.

    Finishing his rep career with 56 Tests for Australia, Smith will be second on the overall honours list for the national team, finishing three behind Darren Lockyer, who played 59.

    The retirement of Smith will continue a mass changing of the guard for the Maroons, with Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk also pulling the pin on representative football this season.

    It means the only remaining member of their spine will be fullback Slater, who is almost guaranteed to be picked for the series opener in Melbourne on June 6 barring injury or suspension.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (173)

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2018 @ 12:30pm
      eagleJack said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

      Geez, no doubt NSW will still find a way to lose!

      Massive changing of the guard up north. With no Smith, Cronk or Thurston that’s a lot of leadership and blokes you turn to for clutch plays, no longer there.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm
        Matt H said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        Basically all our captains are quitting. Leadership and experience are going to be in shorter supply, so I suspect this may count against the selection of ‘young guns’ like Ponga.

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2018 @ 1:13pm
          Edward L'Orange said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

          Who captains Queensland after this? Boyd?

          • Roar Guru

            May 15th 2018 @ 1:15pm
            Emcie said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            Inglis?

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2018 @ 1:19pm
              Edward L'Orange said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

              Morgan, Matt Scott? I really don’t know.

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2018 @ 1:36pm
              Nat said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

              Have to be Inglis

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 1:52pm
                Emcie said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

                DCE?

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 1:55pm
                Scott Pryde said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

                I’d say Inglis, but it wouldn’t surprise if Slater took over.

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 1:57pm
                Nat said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

                DCE? Still not in my team let alone Captain. I say Inglis for how much Souths lift with him in the team. Plus he will go another level and get himself involved from the start.

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 2:12pm
                Emcie said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                It’d have to Inglis I reckon, for the same reasons as you Nat. Probably not Slater as he hasn’t got a uhge amount of experience at captain, though I’m sure he’s capable.

                I think if you’re going to include DCE now’s the time to do it. The Storm combinations aren’t going to be as dominant here on in and its probably the best chance to build a game plan around DCE with so many retirements. Still not sold on Hunt in origin, so much of origin comes down to the clutch moments and that’s not really a specialty of his, he’s better just playing what’s in front of him and not being asked to make the big plays under pressure

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 2:29pm
                Nat said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                I would have thought it last year if at all. When Kevvie chose Hunt, Milford and Munster over him I thought that would be it for DCE in Origin but this throws everything up in the air. Agree with Hunt but he’s playing better than DCE atm and Morgan there as well. Either way it’s a whole new spine.

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 2:45pm
                Emcie said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                The halfback spot was never up for grabs last year though, just a utility spot. DCE was always going to have to wait for Cronk to retire

      • May 15th 2018 @ 1:05pm
        kk said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

        Agreed eJ.

        Kevvie’s job just got harder..ironically so did the other fella’s.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 1:43pm
          Albo said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

          Spot on KK ! All the pressure is now on Freddy . No excuses will be entertained this year in Sydney town.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 1:14pm
        Worlds Biggest said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        Right on EJ, the Blues will find a new way to botch it ! With no Smith, Cronk and Thurston it does present a decent opportunity though !!

    • May 15th 2018 @ 12:31pm
      no one in particular said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

      If NSW don’t win this year they never will again

      Thankfully Daley isn’t around to stuff it all up

      • May 15th 2018 @ 12:41pm
        Jameswm said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        Why? It’ll be easier every year now.

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2018 @ 12:32pm
      BigJ said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      WTF?????

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2018 @ 12:33pm
      Rellum said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

      QLD could be in trouble here if it is true. Nothing great ever comes from all the great players leaving at once. Having all the most influential players retire in one go leaves a massive challenge for the QLD team this year.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 12:39pm
      tim said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

      It’s a bad look if he hadn’t let Walters know months in advance. He’s the captain of a team in transition and to withdraw himself at such a late time beggars belief.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 12:40pm
        Jameswm said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Just maybe, there are reasons.

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2018 @ 12:44pm
          BigJ said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

          Storm losing four games already would have a lot to do with it. Bellamy wants to be competitive and go back to back and not risk injury to Smith. That could be a possibility

      • May 15th 2018 @ 1:23pm
        Mushi said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

        He’s done enough for Queensland that, as a dyed in the wool maroon supporter, he deserves to make the decision.

        He’s a human being our emotions, or even moments of self awareness, don’t run to others time tables unfortunately.

        I’d rather him leave when he wants than have origin, the pinnacle for any QLD lad, become a chore.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 1:40pm
        no one in particular said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

        He might be mentally gone. Guys like him burn out mentally before they do physically

        • May 15th 2018 @ 2:44pm
          Berty Wooster said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          After all the accolades last year, which would have fueled him on adrenaline alone, it has probably taken a while for him to realise that he is slowing down. As we all know, its a gradual process and not something that waves a red flag on a certain date. One thing is for sure, he won’t have taken this decision lightly and it bodes badly for Melbourne for 2019.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 4:02pm
            bbt said | May 15th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

            He hasn’t been playing to his usual standard this year. A bit all over the place. Hopefully, this decision will settle him down.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 4:25pm
          RandyM said | May 15th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          true, all that accounting he’s been doing on the side would really fry your brain.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm
      Charles NSW said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

      Are we worried Cameron Smith?
      Afraid we will put up a bit of competition this time with McInnes and Cook.
      Or are you worried the referees are clamping down on your cheating ways?

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 1:08pm
        Matt H said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

        Go back to bed

      • May 15th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        Duncan Smith said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        Learn some respect, you muppet.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        Duncan Smith said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        Learn some respect.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 2:54pm
        Mushi said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

        Yep I’m sure that was it…

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 3:46pm
        The Barry said | May 15th 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        Yep…after defeating all comers from Buderus to Ennis to Farah the thought of maybe facing Cameron McInnes was too much…

        • May 15th 2018 @ 5:07pm
          Griffo said | May 15th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          Just looking at this, I can’t think of too many other hookers to have played for NSW in the time Smith has being playing for Queensland. Obviously Peats was last year but is Hooker the most stable position NSW has had in this period of Queensland dominance? Compare this to the halves for example.

          • Roar Guru

            May 15th 2018 @ 6:20pm
            The Barry said | May 15th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

            That is interesting.

            Between game one 2002 and game three 2016, NSW used Buderus, Farah and Ennis as hooker for all bar one game.

            The one game was game one 2011, where Ennis was named but Dean Young started at dummy half with Ennis off the bench.

            From game three 2003 to game three 2017 Queensland have used one hooker in every game bar one where Matt Ballin played when Smith was injured.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 10:15pm
          soapit said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

          buderus got the better of smith plenty too. the others… well not so much

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2018 @ 9:07am
            The Barry said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

            Fair enough…but not the point. I doubt Smith is running from representative footy because he’s worried about being shown up by McInnes.

            • May 16th 2018 @ 12:59pm
              soapit said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

              yeah i know. i just think his dominance does get over inflated a bit because of nsw’s poor run of hooking options over the period with the buderus respect the main casualty.

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