No Origin regrets for refreshed Cam
CAMERON Smith has no regrets over his decision to retire from representative football, after sparking his side to a win over the Broncos on Sunday.
The Melbourne skipper announced ahead of Origin I that he would no longer play for Queensland or Australia, citing his inability to back up for his club last year as one of the reasons.
It was clearly the best move for Smith and the Storm, with the Melbourne skipper instrumental in the side's second-half comeback.
Smith teased Queensland fans on Wednesday night when he was asked in the Origin television broadcast whether he would ever answer an SOS from Maroons coach Kevin Walters by responding with "never say never".
However, after Melbourne's strong fight back against the Broncos, Smith said he had never been more sure of his decision to walk away from the representative game.
"Absolutely no regrets … I've made the right decision, there's no doubt about that," Smith said after the Storm's win.
"There was a slight moment on Wednesday night when the (Queensland) boys ran out and you heard the crowd. That was probably the moment that I missed.
"But as soon as the game was underway, I was just excited. I was just another fan. It was actually a really nice experience to be there with my family.
"(Club football) was part of the reason (for retirement). It all just got a little bit too much.
"Over the last couple of weeks, I felt great coming to training. The weight was off the shoulders … I didn't have to go into Origin camp, I was just here preparing with the team.
"I've had a bit of an extra bounce in the step at training and around the place."
Smith said the most important aspect of his presence was his ability to help mentor some of the younger members of the team through what is always a "crucial period" for the Storm.
Melbourne are sitting in fifth spot on the NRL ladder with eight wins for the season and were without Queensland duo Will Chambers (suspension) and Billy Slater (hamstring).
While the likes of Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi and Josh Addo-Carr were able to back up from Origin I, Jahrome Hughes and Cheyse Blair were brought into the side for Slater and Chambers respectively and Smith was able to help guide the two younger players through the week.
"There's a lot of uncertainty around Origin time whether you're going to get those players back and whether they'll be available," he said.
"You have a lot of inexperience in your side preparing for these matches. I just wanted to lend my experience to those young guys and make sure they're preparing well at training.
"It's a really important period for our club, both with our standing on the ladder and going through the Origin period. All the players involved are crucial players to our side."