Cameron Smith statue prompts eyebrow-raising response from NRL fans

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
The newly unveiled statue of Melbourne Storm great Cameron Smith has garnered something of a mixed reaction from fans of the rugby league superstar, who announced his retirement on Wednesday. Pictures: Getty Images
The newly unveiled statue of Melbourne Storm great Cameron Smith has garnered something of a mixed reaction from fans of the rugby league superstar, who announced his retirement on Wednesday. Pictures: Getty Images

Cameron Smith's retirement brought with it all the tributes and flashbacks to moments of greatness you'd expect - although unfortunately for the Melbourne Storm great, the jury is out on whether or not his newly minted statue reflects that.

The 37-year-old finally answered the question that rugby league die-hards had been asking for months, announcing his official retirement from the code on Wednesday.

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As part of his retirement announcement, statues of Smith and former Storm teammate Billy Slater were unveiled outside AAMI Stadium in Melbourne.

However the reaction to said statues was lukewarm on social media - though some made joking comparisons to the memorably disastrous bust of footballer Christiano Ronaldo, others found comparisons a little more close to home.

Rugby league reporter Dan Ginnane suggested Smith's statue bore more of a resemblance to English actor Chris Haywood.

The man himself seemed fairly pleased with his bronze recreation, joking that his hairline had been perfectly replicated.

“Yeah, got the hairline right," he remarked.

“Is the head no good? Statue head is better than the real-life head.”

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Cameron Smith finally announces NRL retirement

As an 18-year-old Smith made his NRL debut in 2002 at the old Olympic Park.

Now 37, Smith stood looking over that ground as he called time on his NRL career after "wrestling" with the decision for the past four months.

And his statue, which sits between their old home ground, and the current one, AAMI Park, will ensure Smith is always a part of Melbourne.

His 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.

Cameron Smith and fellow Melbourne Storm great Billy Slater had statues of themselves unveiled at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Cameron Smith and fellow Melbourne Storm great Billy Slater had statues of themselves unveiled at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Smith says he only made a decision last week and thought the unveiling of the statue would be the perfect spot to make it public.

He told coach Craig Bellamy and football manager Frank Ponissi on Wednesday morning before letting his teammates and club staff know just before the formalities.

"I've spent a few months up in Queensland with the family and had really good opportunities to think over my thoughts on playing on or not," Smith said on Wednesday.

"I look back on my career and found I was very fortunate to be part of a wonderful organisation filled with many great footballers and great people and it felt like the right time to finish off the back of what was a very successful season last year.

"I couldn't have asked for more than finishing with the premiership for a club I played my entire career with."

With AAP

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