Details have emerged about Cameron Smith’s courageous display to lead Melbourne to grand final glory with multiple injuries.
Smith had an absolute blinder in the Storm’s 26-20 triumph over Penrith in Sunday’s grand final, making the second-most tackles and even scoring a rare try.
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While it later emerged that Smith had to have a needle before most games after suffering a shoulder injury in round 12, fresh details have been revealed that his shoulder wasn’t the only issue.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Smith played through the secret pain of either broken ribs or serious cartilage damage for a number of weeks.
He is said to have suffered the rib injury in the opening week of the finals against Parramatta.
Smith was hampered by the painful injury in the second week of the finals against Canberra, but got to rest after they advanced straight through to the grand final with a week off.
But Smith was reportedly still plagued by the rib issue against the Panthers, playing with special padding to protect the area.
He wasn’t able to train before the grand final, with the club going to extraordinary lengths to stop the injury from being made public.
“He was inconvenienced with a number of injuries in the last few weeks of the season, which restricted his training,” Storm football general manager Frank Ponissi told the Herald.
“He certainly wasn’t at 100 per cent physical best for the games, but typical Cameron Smith, he got through them.
“At 37, he is nothing short of remarkable.”
Smith’s heroics will go down in grand final folklore alongside the likes of John Sattler (broken jaw), Sam Burgess (fractured cheekbone), Andrew Johns (punctured lung) and Cooper Cronk (broken shoulder).
Cameron Smith ‘needled every game’
Ponissi earlier revealed how Smith had to have pain-killing injections to play throughout the later parts of the season.
“He had to get needled every game to play out the season,” Ponissi said.
“He even had to get needled at times so he could train.
“The (shoulder) injury was more annoying than anything, but it never really had the chance to heal.
“He kept whacking it in games and it lingered throughout the rest of the season. He’s been carrying it for a while.”
Meanwhile, Smith has been named Melbourne's NRL player of the year for an incredible eighth time, capping the Storm’s premiership success.
The ageless hooker first won the award 15 years ago with his seventh coming in 2017.
But his consistency in 2020, which resulted in him finishing fourth in the Dally M medal despite missing four matches, was rewarded with another individual honour.
Smith, 37, is still to announce whether he will play on for a 20th season next year.
The Storm troops gathered on Tuesday night at the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre at Twin Waters, where players and coaching staff celebrated their latest premiership victory.
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