Melbourne are already starting to see the rewards of skipper Cameron Smith retiring from representative football, with coach Craig Bellamy saying they may not have beaten Brisbane if he'd played in State of Origin I.
Smith was integral in the Storm's 32-16 NRL win at AAMI Park on Sunday, and Bellamy raved about his performance as well as his contribution through the week when he'd usually be away with the Queensland team.
"He was outstanding and I thought his kicking all day was outstanding," Bellamy said.
"He had a plan about how the Broncos defended kicks and he came up with some real special plays.
"I don't know what he's thinking but I'm sure he's made the right decision with Origin.
"If he hadn't of played today, I think we would have been in trouble."
Smith said he had no regrets about the big call and felt it had lightened the mental and physical load.
"The weight was off the shoulders," Smith said post-match.
"I was just here preparing with the team and I've had a bit of an extra bounce in my step at training.
"It's a really important period for our club, both on the ladder and going through the Origin period without those crucial players so I wanted to try and lend my experience."