Cameron Smith finally makes huge call
Cameron Smith has officially retired from professional rugby league.
After months of speculation about whether the NRL legend would play on in 2021, he finally decided to call time on his illustrious career.
"Cameron Smith has today announced his retirement from professional rugby league," the Melbourne Storm said in a statement.
"Cam is not only among the most decorated players the game has ever seen, he made an immeasurable contribution to our club on and off the field, and his legacy will be remembered in Melbourne forever."
Questions were being asked throughout 2020 whether Smith would continue or hang up the boots. He kept everyone guessing and it looked like the 37-year-old might wander off into the sunset without a major announcement, but the news many expected was finally delivered on Wednesday.
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Smith confirmed his retirement at the unveiling of a statue of himself and fellow Storm legend Billy Slater at the team's home stadium of AAMI Park, saying it felt like the right time to leave after winning the premiership last season.
"I couldn't ask for more than finishing with a premiership with a club I've played my whole career with," he said.
"I think I might just put my feet up for 12 months."
Since finishing up last season, Smith has really enjoyed his freedom in recent months and spending more time to do things with his family. It clarified to him that now was the right time to call it quits.
"I've actually really enjoyed having my own time to do my own thing," Smith told reporters.
"It's actually been quite refreshing to me as a person being able to pick and choose what I want to do, rather than being dictated to by a training session or a scheduled draw."
Smith isn't sure what his future holds and wants to take some time to "let the dust settle" before deciding on his next career move.
The writing was on the wall when Melbourne announced two new co-captains last month, handing the leadership reins to Dale Finucane and Jesse Bromwich, who took over from Smith.
While Smith's time in the Victorian capital was up, there remained speculation he could still play on for a rival club in 2021. Having relocated to the Gold Coast, rumours continued to swirl the 37-year-old would ink a deal with either the Titans or Broncos to keep his NRL career alive.
The Broncos said publicly they were chasing Smith and wanted him on their books this season, while the Titans played down any link to the future Immortal.
In the end, Smith opted against continuing his career in the Sunshine State.
More to come ...
Originally published as Cameron Smith finally makes huge call