Cameron Smith photo fuels rumours about NRL champion's future

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Cameron Smith, pictured here in the crowd at a Gold Coast Titans pre-season game.
Cameron Smith was spotted in the crowd at a Gold Coast Titans pre-season game. Image: Twitter

Cameron Smith has been spotted in the crowd at a Gold Coast Titans pre-season trial match, fuelling the rumours about the NRL champion's future.

Smith's playing future is still shrouded in mystery with just three weeks until the NRL season, with speculation growing that he's set to play on rather than retire.

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The former Melbourne Storm captain told a lunch function in Queensland on Friday that he remains undecided - the first time he's spoken publicly about his future since December.

"I don't know ... I still have a big decision to make," Smith said.

Smith relocated his family to the Gold Coast at the end of the 2020 season, a move that had many believing he was eyeing a switch to the Titans.

The Titans have previously said they have no interest in signing Smith, but the rumour mill went back into overdrive on Friday night when he was spotted in the stands as the Titans played Queensland Cup side Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park.

After the game, Titans coach Justin Holbrook said he wasn't aware of Smith's presence.

“Oh, was he? I’ve got no idea. It’s probably because he lives here,” he said, according to The Courier-Mail.

“You told me you weren’t going to ask me anymore (laughs).”

With the Titans distancing themselves from Smith, Brisbane are believed to be the front-runners should he decide to play on.

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Whether or not Smith decides to retire, it's clear his days at the Storm are over.

The Storm announced on Friday that long-time deputies Dale Finucane and Jesse Bromwich will be co-captains for the 2021 season - the club's only captaincy change in 16 years.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said he spoke to Smith on Friday morning and claimed the door was still ajar for Smith playing on.

"It's looking more and more unlikely that he's going to play but I don't know that so we're just trying to prepare for this season with the players we've got," Bellamy said.

Cameron Smith, pictured here with the Premiership trophy after winning the 2020 NRL grand final with the Melbourne Storm.
Cameron Smith poses with the Premiership trophy after winning the 2020 NRL grand final with the Melbourne Storm. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Having had Smith by his side for the past 18 seasons, Bellamy felt a little lost at the start of the 2021 pre-season.

Though he has his new leaders nailed down, Bellamy said there was a lot more to replacing Smith after 430 games as the Storm look to back up their 2020 premiership.

"I don't think people realise just how much we're going to miss Cameron," Bellamy said.

"People think of him as the best dummy half there's ever been so we're going to miss him there, but then, he's our goal kicker, our captain - there's so many things you don't really realise what he does and how well he does them that we've got to make up for.

"Even I was a little bit blind to that at the start of the pre-season."

Bellamy said he didn't talk with Smith about his future and wouldn't press him.

"Cameron deserves as much time as he needs to make a decision and make an announcement and we will back him all the way," Bellamy said.

with AAP

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