Cameron Smith has put an end to a glittering career and announced his retirement from the NRL on Wednesday.
The Melbourne Storm made an announcement after 12pm that the future Immortal would hang up his boots after 19 years and 430 matches.
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Smith will be calling time on his career on a high after winning the NRL Premiership last season against the Penrith Panthers.
The 37-year-old has called time on his career as the highest point scorer in the competitions history.
Smith has made 42 State of Origin appearances, has played 56 Tests for Australia and won two Dally M Medals, one in 2006 and 2017.
The Storm and Queensland legend revealed when he made the call to retire, despite months of speculation.
“In my head it was probably about a week ago,” Smith said at a press conference.
“The unveiling of the statue was today and I knew I was going to be in Melbourne so it was the perfect opportunity to announce my decision seeing as this was where I – and Billy – started our career right here in Olympic Park in 2002.
“This is where I wanted to officially end it as well. And I had the opportunity to stand next to my good friend Billy too when I announced it.”
The Storm heaped praise on their longtime captain after announcing the retirement.
"Cameron Smith has today announced his retirement from professional rugby league," the Storm wrote.
"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."
Earlier on Wednesday, Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted he still didn't know Smith's decision.
"You’d think how close it is to round one, he wouldn’t be playing this year," Bellamy told SEN.
"Twelve months ago he said this is the situation, but if anyone could come in and play to a high standard of footy without too much of a pre-season, it’s Cameron Smith.
"Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does play again, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires as well.
"He plays his cards pretty close to his chest, Cameron. I know when people ask me they think I do know, but I don’t."
Cameron Smith's career in review
The Brisbane-born hooker made his NRL debut with Melbourne in 2002 and has played a record 430 games; the only player in history to surpass 400.
His retirement marks the first time Smith hasn't appeared in a Melbourne round one team since 2003.
He's the last to retire of Melbourne's so-called "Big Three", that included Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, who were so integral to the club's sustained success.
Slater's statue, also unveiled Wednesday, sits alongside Smith's.
Smith also holds the NRL record for the most points scored with 2,786, including 14 in last year's grand final.
Among his other honours are two Dally M Medals, in 2006 and 2017, and two Golden Boot awards, for the player adjudged to be the best in the world, in 2007 and 2017.
Playing in eight grand finals, Smith steered the Storm to NRL premierships in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017 and 2020, although the first two titles were later stripped for salary-cap breaches.
The durable hooker was also instrumental in Queensland's eight-year State of Origin reign between 2006 and 2013, while he was represented Australia from 2006 until his retirement from representative football at the end of 2017.
Named the permanent Kangaroos captain in 2012, he played in 56 Tests, winning 49.
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