Telling move spells end of Cameron Smith's Melbourne Storm era

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Storm coach Craig Bellamy is pictured here with former captain Cam Smith.
For the first time since 2008, Storm coach Craig Bellamy won't have Cam Smith leading out his troops. Pic: Getty

Cameron Smith's illustrious legacy as Melbourne Storm captain is officially over after the reigning NRL premiers on Friday announced their new club captains.

Kangaroos and Maroons legend Smith has captained the Storm full-time since 2008, winning just about every individual and team accolade the sport has to offer in that time.

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Incredibly, the legendary hooker's future has still not been announced, despite the NRL season kicking off in less than three weeks.

League fans are none-the-wiser about whether Smith will run around for another season in 2021, or hang up the boots after claiming his third NRL premiership with the Storm last season.

One thing is for certain though, Smith will not be the Storm's captain again in the upcoming season.

That honour has been handed to Dale Finucane and Jesse Bromwich, who will both share the captaincy after being vice-captains in 2020.

The Storm confirmed the decision on Friday and although they haven't officially ruled out Smith playing on at the club, he isn't listed on the 2021 playing roster.

Finucane and Bromwich will take the reigns for the Storm in the NRL season opener against South Sydney at AAMI Park on March 11.

Pictured here, Melbourne Storm co-captains Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane.
Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane were on Friday named the Storm's new co-captains. Pic: Getty

Smith still hasn't officially declared his retirement and the Storm wanted to wait until he did so before naming the new captain, but with the season fast approaching they opted to move ahead.

The 37-year-old and his family have moved up to Queensland to live, fuelling speculation that he would be joining the Gold Coast Titans.

However, Gold Coast figurehead Mal Meninga brushed off any such suggestions, insisting he has not spoken to the champion hooker.

Smith's future remains of the biggest talking point ahead of the season, with Cooper Cronk adamant Smith would still be a star off a four-week pre-season.

The Titans remain favourites to land the 37-year-old if he does decide to play on, with a sighting of him training at a Gold Coast park this week adding to the speculation.

Meninga plays down Titans links

But Meninga, who overseas the club's recruitment as their head of culture, said there was no chance he would be at the Titans.

"I haven't talked to him, so that means he's not on the radar," Meninga said at Fox League's season launch.

"He had a blue shirt on when he was training with footy boots and some footballs, so everyone assumed he is coming to the Titans.

"But I haven't talked to Cameron. He is the hardest man in the world to get hold of."

Cameron Smith is seen here posing with the 2020 NRL premiership trophy.
Cameron Smith poses with the NRL premiership he won with the Melbourne Storm in 2020. Pic: Getty

Rugby league remains split on whether Smith will go on, as Melbourne, the Titans and Brisbane all plan for season kick-off in three weeks without him.

Smith has not spoken publicly since December, and let the decision over his future drag out through the entire 2020 season and after the grand final.

Cronk though, has no doubt Smith could run out as soon as round one if he is a late addition to a club.

The former No.7 regularly returned late back to Storm pre-seasons with Smith, with the club unbeaten in opening rounds in Smith's career.

"He was in the top five of the Dally M's last year," Cronk told AAP.

"He won a grand final and I have seen him rock up in the middle of January with four weeks notice and be right for round one.

"He is cherry ripe for it."

with AAP

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