Smith set to announce rep retirement, effective immediately
16 May, 2018, 00:56 | Author: Thomas Hicks
Cameron Smith has surprisingly called an end to his representative career with Queensland and Australia just three weeks out from the beginning of the State of Origin series.
Fox Sports reports that Smith, along with Queensland coach Kevin Walters, will hold a press conference in Melbourne at 1pm this afternoon, where Smith will confirm he is walking away from Maroons and Kangaroos football effective immediately.
"It's been a fairly lengthy process for me to come to this decision".
"I thought his performance in Game 3 of past year was one of the best I have seen from anyone at that level, and at 34 that speaks volumes", Walters said.
Right now is the right time for me to finish up.
But Walters believed the 32-year-old, who missed last year's series with an ACL injury, would rise to the challenge. It's not fair on me, my family and my Storm teammates (to continue).
He said he would lay on the couch at home exhausted physically and mentally after playing State of Origin. "I don't know, maybe the length of that season of being away for three Origin games and then a six-week period with the Kangaroos sort of confirmed to me that it was getting more hard for me to be away from my wife and children".
Smith paid tribute to several coaches and his family.
"Not too many people understand the commitment that you need to play Origin". "My lovely wife Barbara and my children".
"Brilliant representative career over a long period of time", NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said of Smith.
"I take my hat off to you mate", Walters said.
"I thought his performance in Game III of a year ago was one of the best I have seen from anyone at that level and at age 34 that speaks volumes", he said.
It means Queensland will have to appoint a new captain and hooker for the Origin series opener against New South Wales on June 6. "It's a massive blow", Walters said.
Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough appears Smith's likely replacement at hooker while the kicking stocks look a little bare, perhaps forcing Cameron Munster or Josh McGuire to do the goal kicking for the Maroons.
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.
Smith made his debut for Queensland in 2003 and played 42 Origin matches, winning 26 - both records in the series which is one of the most storied contests in the sport.
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