"Small thoughts" built up to Cam Smith's retirement from rep footy
UPDATE: AUSTRALIAN and Queensland captain Cameron Smith has announced his retirement from representative rugby league, effective immediately.
The champion No. 9 called a press conference for 1pm in Melbourne on Tuesday where he made the announcement alongside coach Kevin Walters.
"It's been a lengthy process for me to come to this decision," Smith said.
"I started having small thoughts last year. Right now is the right time for me to finish up. Last year the series had an effect on me more physically and mentally than ever before. It's not fair on me, my family and my Storm teammates (to continue).
"I would have loved to have played on for a lot longer but unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and those things don't happen."
Smith paid tribute to several coaches and his family. "The people that have sacrificed the most are my family," he said. "My beautiful wife Barbara and my children. My eldest has been to pretty much every rep game. I've been away from you for a long time but you've always wanted me to pursue my dreams."
After Smith finished his statement, Walters joked about whether it was too late to convince him to play "two 30-minute spells".
"I take my hat off to you mate," Walter said. "I think his performance in game three of last year's Origin performance was one of the best I've seen of anyone at that level and that was at 34 years of age."
Smith's exit coincides with the representative retirements of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, which were announced at the end of last year.
It means Queensland will need a new captain and hooker for the State of Origin series starting on June 6. "It's a massive blow," Walters said.
The call is likely to springboard Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough into contention for a Queensland debut in game one, while Jake Granville of the Cowboys could be another option.
Darius Boyd, Billy Slater or Greg Inglis are the most likely candidates to take over the captaincy, however Boyd has battled form and fitness at Brisbane this season.
"We'll get to that in the next couple of weeks," Walters said.
Since making his debut for Queensland in 2003, Smith has played a record 42 Origins for the Maroons and has been captain of the side since 2012.
In that period he has missed just one game - the series opener in 2010 due to injury - and won a record 26 matches.
Since playmaker Thurston's debut in 2005, the pair have played a crucial role in the Maroons' 11 of the last 12 series victories.
Bookmaker TAB immediately dropped its price for a NSW series win from $1.70 to $1.53 in the wake of the announcement. Queensland lengthened from $2.15 to $2.50.
Smith's rep exit comes with all three Queensland-based NRL sides languishing in the bottom half of the ladder.
The Broncos (5-5), Cowboys (3-7) and Titans (3-7) have all underperformed this season and Queenslanders were looking for their Origin outfit to lift their spirits.
- with AAP
EARLIER: AUSTRALIAN and Queensland captain Cameron Smith is set to drop a representative rugby league bombshell by announcing he is finished playing for the Maroons and Australia, effective immediately.
A press conference has been called with Smith and Queensland coach Kevin Walters at 1pm on Tuesday in Melbourne where the announcement will be made.
The bombshell announcement will leave the Maroons with a huge void to fill in a position Smith has made his own since 2003.
The champion No.9 will be celebrated as one of the greatest big-match players the game has seen and the greatest hooker of all time.
Smith stands head to head with the giants of State of Origin, notching up seven man of the match awards for Queensland. The legendary Wally Lewis won the honour eight times.
The underlying theme of Smith's entire career is he is a winner.
Two premierships with Melbourne Storm, 11 of the last 12 State of Origin series with Queensland and two World Cups with the Kangaroos.
Fox League expert Matthew Johns rates Smith the greatest big-game, clutch player he has seen.
Smith's rep career achievements
- 42 Origins (Record)
- 26 wins (Record)
- 21 games as captain (3rd behind Lewis 30, Lockyer 22)
- 7 MOM awards (1 behind Lewis)
- 5 Tries
- 1566 tackles - more than 700 more than second placed Gary Larson
- Has touched the ball almost 2200 times more than any other player at Origin level.
- 56 Tests for Australia (2nd Behind Lockyer 59 - 63 including SL Tests)
- 49 Wins
- 33 as Captain (2nd Behind Lockyer 38)
- 9 Tries
- 67 goals
- 170 points
- Captained Australia to the 2013 and 2017 World Cups and the 2016 Four Nations
- Golden Boot 2007, 2017
- RLIF Player of the Year 2012
- Wally Lewis Medallist 2007, 2011, 2013, 2016