Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Maroons star Cameron Smith quits weeks before Origin opener

Maroons star Cameron Smith quits weeks before Origin opener

The 34-year-old has called time on his legendary career for Australia and Queensland, meaning he will not be available for selection in the 2018 State of Origin Series or any Kangaroos Test matches.

"Today I'm announcing my retirement from representative football as of right now", he said in a statement.

"Right now, this year is the right time to finish up".

He said: "That is something that I did think about when I was coming to my decision".

"I probably started having thoughts about finishing up my representative career previous year".

"Last year, more than any other year, the Origin series in particular had an effect on me both physically and mentally", Smith told a news conference.

"Looking back at it now I don't think that's fair on myself, I don't think that's fair on my family and also my teammates back at Melbourne Storm".

A playmaking hooker and goalkicker, Smith took over as Queensland and Australia captain in 2012 and was voted the Rugby League International Federation's player of the year.

As a stalwart of the Maroons, Smith oversaw the greatest period of dominance ever seen in the series, with Queensland winning 11 out of the past 12 series.

This comes after Jonathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk chose to retire from rep commitments at the end of previous year.

Smith announced his shock representative retirement on Tuesday, ending a Maroons career that began in 2003 despite having just 18 NRL games to his name.

"Not only did they make me a better footballer and a better captain but a better person overall as well", he said.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has lauded Smith's performance both on and off the field.

"Respect, humility, all those things you like to see in people he shows that in every day of his life."

Smith admitted the lure of playing one last Origin game on the MCG and Suncorp Stadium made him think twice about playing on but in the end "the reasons for not playing outweighted the reasons for playing on".

"I am one of the lucky ones, I got to fulfil my dreams".

Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough appears Smith's likely replacement at hooker while the kicking stocks look a little bare, perhaps forcing Cameron Munster or Josh McGuire to do the goal kicking for the Maroons.

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