The ongoing saga of Cameron Smith’s retirement decision appears to be over with the NRL superstar set to call an end to his glittering 19-year career.
The all-time most capped player and highest point scorer has continued to be one of the best players in the NRL this season, despite ongoing speculation this year would be his last.
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It’s been a constant question for Smith, who has been accused of being selfish, despite his strong form and a commonly held belief he could continue to play at the top level for years to come.
But after 18 years at the Storm, the likes of 24-year-old New Zealand hooker Brandon Smith and loan player to the Wests Tigers Harry Grant, who was selected in the Queensland Origin squad in his rookie season at just 22, are lining up behind the 37-year-old Smith.
While Smith has been deflecting the questions throughout the season despite being asked almost every week, the man strongly expected to be a first ballot Immortal has been making moves behind the scenes to set up his post-career life.
Smith, the only man to have played over 400 games, will have played 430 if the Storm make the grand final said earlier in the year a fairytale finish would help him make the decision.
Cameron Smith has not lost a step in his 19th season.Source:News Corp Australia
But the Courier Mail reported last week that he had bought a house in the Gold Coast, with his children already reportedly enrolled in schools in the area and that he “will announce his retirement within a fortnight”.
The Courier Mail added in a report that he had sold his house in Melbourne and Storm bosses believe Smith will retire from the NRL.
While Smith has yet to confirm whether or not he will retire from the game or whether he will move on from the Storm next season, club chairman Matt Tripp reportedly believes he has “potential as a board member” or in a “consultancy role”.
The Courier Mail reported that Smith’s father Wayne will be in the crowd for the grand final qualifier next week at Suncorp Stadium.
“This could be his last ever game at Suncorp,” Smith Snr said.
“It’s been a great ground for him, it’s where he made his Origin debut, so it will be quite emotional for all us to think this may be his farewell to Suncorp.
“To be honest, Cam has come to the time in his life where his kids are growing up and he owes it to his kids to spend more time with them.”
Despite the difficulty of the year, Smith has again been in tremendous form.Source:Getty Images
Smith’s father added that Cameron had missed out on his son’s first game on the Gold Coast as well as many other family moments while in the NRL bubble on the Sunshine Coast.
He also predicted that Cameron wouldn’t want to play against coach Craig Bellamy at another club.
Grant, who was named the Wests Tigers rookie of the year, made a statement at the club presentation night where he said he wouldn’t return to the Storm if Smith was still there.
In another interview, he added that “I‘ll probably retire before he does. I’m not sure, we’ll see how we go.”
“To be honest, I can‘t really imagine the game without Cam in it next year,” Grant said. “In that sense, I do hope he does play on.”
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