After months of speculation, NRL star Cameron Smith has finally announced he is hanging up the boots.
The 37-year-old Storm legend confirmed the long-awaited news whilst unveiling a statue of himself and Billy Slater in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.
Speaking to reporters at AAMI Park, Smith said it simply “felt like the right time” after 430 NRL games.
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“For me, I look back on my career and just found that I was very fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful organisation filled with many great footballers but great people as well,” he said.
“It just felt like the right time to finish off the back of a successful season last year… you couldn’t ask for more than finishing with a premiership, with a club I’ve played my entire career with”.
The former Melbourne Captain admitted he only came to the decision to retire last week.
“In my head it was probably about a week ago,” Smith said.
“The unveiling of the statue was today and I knew I was going to be in Melbourne so it was the perfect opportunity to announce my decision seeing as this was where I and Billy started our career right here in Olympic Park in 2002.
“This is where I wanted to officially end it as well. And I had the opportunity to stand next to my good friend Billy too when I announced it to everyone as well.”
The greatest 💜 pic.twitter.com/8tXwxUKIB0
— Melbourne Storm 🏆 (@storm) March 10, 2021
The Melbourne Storm also released a statement confirming the news a short time ago.
“Cameron Smith has today announced his retirement from professional rugby league,” the club said.
“Cam is not only among the most decorated players the game has ever seen, he made an immeasurable contribution to our club on and off the field, and his legacy will be remembered in Melbourne forever.”
The Queensland Origin star has spent the last 12 months dodging questions about his playing future.
There was speculation he may have been making the move to the Gold Coast Titans after recently buying a home at Guanaba and enrolling his children in a local school – however, those rumours have now officially been squashed.
The announcement comes just one day before the 2021 NRL season kicks off, with the Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs set to do battle on Thursday night.