Cameron Smith pulls the pin on rep rugby league

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    The burning question following league legend Cameron Smith’s retirement from rep football is who will referee Origin 1?

    Not only has Smith been one of the greatest players of the 13-man code, but the way he’s handled the whistleblowers has made him the complete footballer.

    When the faithful talk rugby league in the future, Smith will be mentioned in the same breath as Graeme Langlands, Reg Gasnier, Wally Lewis, and Johnathan Thurston.

    It’s not only his crystal-clear passion for the game, but his incredible ability to play off the top shelf every time he strapped on his boots.

    And that’s a lot of strapping. Try 59 Kangaroo caps, 42 Origin, and 368 NRL games for the Storm and rising – the vast majority of them as captain.

    To put those stats in perspective for Smith, who turns 35 next month:

    Most Kangaroo caps
    59 – Darren Lockyer
    56 – Cameron Smith
    46 – Mal Meninga
    45 – Graeme Langlands
    45 – Petero Civoniceva

    Most Origins
    42 – Cameron Smith
    37 – Johnathon Thurston
    36 – Allan Langer
    34 – Darren Lockyer
    33 – Petero Civoniceva

    Most club
    368 – Cameron Smith
    355 – Darren Lockyer
    350 – Terry Lamb
    349 – Steve Menzies
    347 – Corey Parker

    Most NRL points
    2418 – Hazem El Masri
    2267 – Cameron Smith
    2176 – Andrew Johns
    2114 – Johnathan Thurston
    2107 – Jason Taylor

    But those amazing stats don’t tell the whole story.

    Smith was adamant in the people he thanked at the packed media conference.

    “Ricky Stuart, Mal Meninga, and Craig Bellamy for their coaching, and especially my family for the way they have supported me, despite the many days I was never at home,” he said.

    “Now it’s time to give back to them, I’ve missed far too my of my kids’ school and sporting functions.

    “But the writing was on the wall after the last Origin series.

    “I found that series far more taxing than any of the others because I was too exhausted both mentally and physically to play for the Storm, despite the four-day turnaround.

    “That was never the case before, I always wanted to back up, but couldn’t last year.”

    Smith admits he’s a terrible spectator, but he’ll get used to it – he has the rest of his life to do so, with his family beside him. And no doubt he’ll join the battalion of high-quality presenters in the Fox box before long.

    But he leaves a huge hole on the field that will be impossible to replace at Test and Origin level. And it sure gives NSW a lift as they set out to stop the Origin rot, with Brad Fittler at the helm.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • Columnist

      May 16th 2018 @ 5:30am
      David Lord said | May 16th 2018 @ 5:30am | ! Report

      For some unfathomable reason, editorial deleted Johnny Raper and Ken Irvine from my list of legends Cameron Smith will join.

      This restores their rightful place.

    • Roar Pro

      May 16th 2018 @ 7:08am
      Jason Andrews said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      It is really sad that Smith, is giving it away for this series., I would of love to see him play one more series as I have never seen him play for QLD live. There a lot more to this story then is being let on. I feel that with the retirements of Cronk and JT at rep level that Smith and Slater would not be even to carry the team to victory and with the Storm not doing so well this year Bellamy probably wanted him to focus on his club career to try to go for back to back premierships

      • May 16th 2018 @ 7:58am
        Peter Phelps said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:58am | ! Report

        I agree,

        I think Smith and the Storm have had a lot to “put up with” this season with the latest suspension being one of them. Maybe he has just “Had Enough” of the latest BS coming from our administrators.

        • Roar Pro

          May 16th 2018 @ 8:16am
          Jason Andrews said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          I agree, sometimes the BS in life, stops you from making true achievement

        • Roar Rookie

          May 16th 2018 @ 10:14am
          Dogs Boddy said | May 16th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          You mean the suspension for the illegal tackle that injured someone?

          You’re so right, they’re just out to get him because the judiciary are Storm haters.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 16th 2018 @ 10:26am
        Joe said | May 16th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        I don’t think Bellamy would ever ask a player to give up rep duties for club. I think the decision had been made some time back and he was just seeing how he felt after a couple of games in case he changed his mind. Definitely nothing to do with the suspension as he informed Walters after the Titans game before he was charged and you’d think he would have already made up his mind way before that and the game in Qld was the opportunity for him to let Kevvie know face-to-face. Walters himself said he had the suspicion earlier in the year when Smith wasn’t his usual enthusiastic self when they met for Origin planning so I suspect it was playing on his mind after last years series where he was buggered and it showed in missing post Origin games. He looked fatigued for a few games after. His start to this year hasn’t been too good either and that probably confirmed it for him.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 16th 2018 @ 11:30am
          Don said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          If anyone watched NRL360 last night Mal Meninga’s interview gave a good insight into the change in Cameron Smith over the last year.
          He was a very different person to the one that had been in Kangaroo camps previously.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 7:21am
      Yawn said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      He retired because he didn’t want to go out in a losing team. True legend.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 16th 2018 @ 10:20am
        Dogs Boddy said | May 16th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        That’s a bit rough.

        Cam Smith is a lot of thing and legend is actually one of them. If you have ever listened to any speech he has given on the podium (win or lose) he is always gracious. He deserved to go out a winner and the series will be a bit different without him.

        To suggest he is ducking this in case he might lose is ludicrous. Maybe he just knows he can’t give it his all and is one of the rare few players who knows his time is up.

        Thanks for all those years of heartache Cam, you deserve the rest.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 16th 2018 @ 2:44pm
        Ray Paks said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

        I agree! in past campaigns he had the body to do it and he did it (with JT and Cronk there), came out a winner most of the time.
        This year, he kind of knew they were lucky to have JT (and cronk) in that second game last year to have a hand in that upset victory. Seeing that those blokes are no longer there and he is struggling at club land, the chances of falling short have significantly increased..

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2018 @ 4:53pm
          Nat said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

          You agree with a salty toss Ray? He lead a team with 7 SOO debutantes to a series win last year. “Lucky” in game 2? Explain G3 without JT. You can make a better argument yourself rather than acknowledging a t.r.o .l.l who refers to people he’s never met as dogs?

          • Roar Rookie

            May 16th 2018 @ 5:05pm
            Ray Paks said | May 16th 2018 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

            Not you again!

            They were lucky Jarryd Hayne didn’t pass to Morris, that try would have sealed a NSW series win. Qld only managed to scrape through courtesy of a JT sideline conversion. Game 3, Cronk was there, if he played on it would’ve been the first time without either player after they made their origin debuts.

            refer to people he’s never met as dogs ?
            Nat, seriously! you seem very emotional today..

    • May 16th 2018 @ 7:33am
      Simon said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      He changed the Origin series last year when he started running from dummy half. Unbelievable to think he won’t be playing this year. Few players have a claim to be clearly the greatest player ever in their position but I think you could give Cam that honour

      • May 16th 2018 @ 7:59am
        Peter Phelps said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report


        Sorry to see him go, pleased to see him focus on Melbourne Storm.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 8:25am
      Greg said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Origin is going to be dramatically different this year going from three refs back to two

    • Roar Guru

      May 16th 2018 @ 8:33am
      Emcie said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Well the Smith haters are out in force today

      • May 16th 2018 @ 9:16am
        Roger said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        At least it gives them something to do other than plucking belly button lint out.

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