Cameron Smith didn’t need to convince Melbourne he had two seasons left in him and didn’t give the NRL club an ultimatum.
Tthe skipper said the protracted five-month negotiations had been a result of a long holiday and telling the Storm they should focus on retaining younger stars such as Cameron Munster.
The 35-year-old returned this week to training after a three-month break and signed a deal to take him into the 2020 season.
It will also result in him becoming the first NRL player to crack the magical 400-game mark.
Smith admitted the club were surprised when he asked about a second year but said he would have happily taken no for an answer.
“If it was a deadset ‘no’ from the club, then that was the answer and I would have been happy to go ahead with the 12 months,” Smith said on Thursday.
“I threw the question out there, knowing I had an extended break and time off and the club had plenty of time to think about it and they came back to me and said we think it’s a great idea.”
He denied there was any impasse.
“It was more about the time in hand. I was in no rush at all knowing that I had three months off. From my end, there was no pushing the club into a decision.”
Smith said he spoke to Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy and told him to make re-signing young superstar Munster his first priority.
“Cameron Munster is one one of the best players in the competition and it was important that the club retained him.
“I said to Dave (Donaghy) if that is of higher importance, make sure that gets done first.”
Smith stopped short of admitting he took a pay cut to keep the talent around him but said accepting less than market value was part of the club’s ethos.
The former Test and Queensland captain said his retirement from representative football in 2018 was a big factor in his decision.
“I was feeling really good after the 2018 season, given it was my first time in a long time away from the representative arena,” Smith said.
“Finishing with no injuries … I’m feeling as good as I’ve ever felt and that was the reason I asked the club for two years and, thankfully, that was an option that worked for them as well.”
Set to turn 36 in June, Smith is older than new assistant coach and former teammate Ryan Hinchcliffe.
Age aside, he’s on target to set to some NRL records that will be extremely hard to beat.
He already holds the record for most games at 384 and, barring injury or suspension, will achieve the 400-game milestone in round 17.
He is also poised to become the NRL points record holder. He is second (2386 points) only to ex-Canterbury ace Hazem El Masri (2418).