Queensland coach Kevin Walters paid glowing tribute to Smith saying the Maroons would not be able to replace him with anyone similar
15 May, 2018, 14:13
Cameron Smith has retired from representative rugby league, finishing a career that included 11 wins in the last 12 State of Origin series for Queensland and leading Australia to two World Cup titles.
The 34-year-old Smith dropped the bombshell news at a Melbourne media conference on Tuesday, saying he'd been thinking about it since last year and "now is the right time for me to finish up".
Smith, the most-capped Maroon of all time, leaves a giant void in the Maroons side at hooker; a position he's had locked down in the Queensland side since 2003.
And Smith has revealed that he would like to continue playing for Melbourne Storm for a couple of more years.
"The decision is a combination of the impact that representative football had on me and my family", Smith said.
Smith said he'd started thinking about it previous year, when he was unable to back up and play for the Storm the weekend after each Origin game as he'd done in the past. This extra commitment of representing Queensland in the middle of the season and Kangaroos matches at the end of the year does take its toll.
Smith said those weekends, when unable to play for Melbourne, he was lying on the couch or in bed exhausted, and he believed few realised the drain of playing at that level.
Smith and Maroons coach Kevin Walters will speak at 1pm this afternoon.
In his Origin career he missed just one game - the series opener in 2010 due to injury - and won a record 26 matches.
It means Queensland will have to appoint a new captain and hooker for the Origin series opener against New South Wales on June 6.
"I thought his performance in game three of a year ago was one of the best I have seen from anyone at that level and at age 34 that speaks volumes", said Walters.
Greg Inglis is widely seen as the most likely option to replace Smith as Queensland captain, with Inglis and NSW skipper Boyd Cordner in the frame to lead the national team.