'Best there has been': NRL world reacts to Cameron Smith retirement

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Cameron Smith (pictured middle) poses with Jonathan Thurston (pictured left) and Billy Slater (pictured right) after a game.
The NRL world has heaped praise on Cameron Smith (pictured middle) after a glittering career has come to an end. (Getty Images)

The NRL world has flooded Cameron Smith with praise after finally announcing his retirement after 19 years at the top of professional rugby league.

Cameron Smith put an end to a glittering career, and many twists and turns in the retirement saga, when he officially hung up the boots on Wednesday.

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The Melbourne Storm made an announcement after 12pm that the future Immortal would hang up his boots after 19 years and 430 matches.

During his career Smith made 42 State of Origin appearances, played 56 Tests for Australia and won two Dally M Medals, one in 2006 and 2017.

As the competitions highest ever point scorer and most capped player there is no doubt Smith is one of the greatest NRL players of all time.

Many in the NRL world were quick to heap praise on the NRL legend only moments after his retirement call.

Teammate Ryan Papenhuyzen even joked he would need to start practising his goal kicking now Smith had retired.

Sharks star Josh Dugan also praised Smith as "one of the all time greats".

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Smith's retirement 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.

with AAP

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