Yvonne Sampson fuels stunning theory about Cameron Smith comeback

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Yvonne Sampson and Cameron Smith, pictured here in the NRL world.
Yvonne Sampson doesn't think Cameron Smith is finished playing NRL. Image: Getty

NRL reporter Yvonne Sampson doesn't think we've seen the last of Cameron Smith in the NRL.

The Melbourne Storm champion ended months of speculation on Wednesday when he confirmed his retirement after 430 games.

Smith said he had been wrestling with the decision for the past few months before finally deciding to hang up the boots on his 19-year career last week.

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However many believe the fact that Smith struggled with the decision for so long means he hasn't completely ruled out making a comeback. 

In announcing his retirement, Smith said still “felt good within myself physically and mentally and felt my form was still good enough to play in the NRL”.

He also said he hopes the next part of his life “will involve rugby league in some capacity”.

According to Fox League presenter Sampson, we might not have seen the last of Smith in a playing capacity.

She even floated the bombshell idea that Smith could make a stunning return this year.

“Absolutely, he could do anything, because he truly is the GOAT,” Sampson told the Big Sports Breakfast when asked if Smith could return in 2022.

“Of course he could. I’m not ruling out the fact that we wouldn’t see him before August 1.

“People have retired before - they’re drawing comparisons between when Alfie (Allan Langer) came back in 2001, Sonny Bill Williams has come back, Freddy (Brad Fittler) came back out of retirement.

“I think Cameron Smith will deserve this time off just to relax and live the life that he probably has always envisaged for his family.

“But just knowing the competitor we have witnessed over the last 20 years, it’s going to be hard for a future Immortal to just get into the daily grind of lunches, peak hour traffic.

“Do I think Cameron will just sort of fade into oblivion? I can’t see it.

“He thinks he’s just going to do paddle-boarding and live the good life and play golf up around the Gold Coast in Queensland, but I think it’s very clear to everyone that he was struggling with this, even at 37-years-old, because he still has that desire to play.”

Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, pictured here with their statues outside AAMI Park.
Cameron Smith and Billy Slater pose for photos with their statues outside AAMI Park. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Smith didn't want to play for Storm rivals?

While the Titans and Broncos were thought to be in the running to sign Smith after he moved his family to the Gold Coast, Sampson believes Smith would have been struggling with the idea of not wearing a Storm jersey.

“Physically, mentally, he is still at the top of the game, which is unbelievable," she said.

"But I think what he couldn’t really come to terms with was that he wasn’t going to be able to play for the Storm.

“After 19 seasons they said, ‘Thanks very much, we’ve got to move into the future. We’ve got Harry Grant, we’ve got Brandon Smith, we’re going to lose them if we keep you’.

“His options were Titans or Broncos, neither of those really peeled his bananas so he decided to retire.”

Smith's retirement brings to a close an extraordinary 19-season career that has him touted as a future rugby league Immortal.

The Brisbane-born hooker played a record 430 games and is the only player in history to surpass 400.

Smith said he only made a decision last week and thought the unveiling of his new statue at AAMI Park would be the perfect spot to make it public.

with AAP

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