Here is the next part in this six-part series on the NRL’s most powerful clubs.
Melbourne will not stand in the way of Cameron Smith if the Storm captain wants to make a comeback to the State of Origin arena, coach Craig Bellamy says.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says captain Cameron Smith is playing well enough for a State of Origin recall if he were to make himself available.
There’s been growing speculation that Queensland great Smith may be asked to come out of representative retirement
with the Maroons heavily hit by key injuries.
Bellamy says Smith has not approached him about it and doubts he would want to play but the club would give their blessing if he wanted to answer an Origin SOS call.
“If Cameron wanted to play Origin again, he’d do so with my blessing and I imagine the club would feel the same,” Bellamy said on Thursday.
“With what he’s done for our club and the game in general if that’s what he wanted to do I wouldn’t stand in his way.”
Bellamy, who coached NSW for three years between 2008-2010, said if he was Queensland coach Kevin Walters he’d be doing all he could to persuade Smith to return.
The Maroons have lost a swag of stars such as Smith, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis to retirement and Valentine Holmes to the NFL, while their first choice halfback Daly Cherry-Evans is in doubt through injury.
“If I was Kevvie I’d be really keen for him to be playing,” Bellamy said.
“Over two series they’ve lost a lot of key position players so there’s been a heap of changes to their team so to get some stability back in there would be a good thing for them.”
The 35-year-old hooker was key in Melbourne’s one-point win over the Warriors last round and Bellamy said he’d consistently been among their top performers all season.
But he didn’t see the former Australian skipper returning to the representative stage.
“I think he’s playing well enough to play Origin without a doubt,” Bellamy said.
“I’m not quite sure he’d want to go back and play after making that break last year.
“I couldn’t see him doing it but stranger things have happened in our game.”