Cameron Smith’s father has opened up to the criticism of his son and believes victory in Sunday night’s NRL grand final could be the defining moment that convinces the Storm champion to step down from the league. rugby league
On the eve of Smith’s eighth grand final in the Melbourne-Penrith decision at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, his father Wayne has spoken of his dismay at the social media attacks and criticism of the Queensland Origin legend.
Smith is playing his 430th freshman game on Sunday night and while the out-of-contract Storm skipper is tight-lipped about his future, it is almost certain that the grand final will be his last rugby league game.
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But for all of his magnificent accomplishments, Smith never quite captured the hearts of the public like other Queensland football icons such as Wally Lewis, Johnathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer and Arthur Beetson.
The 37-year-old was criticized last year when NRL general manager Todd Greenberg presented Smith’s wife Barbara with a diamond ring at a private dinner in honor of the 400th anniversary. Smith’s record match
Although the NRL has given rings to players who reach the 300-game milestone, Greenberg’s act has been seen in some quarters as the governing body giving Smith preferential treatment.
Australia’s 42-game Origin and 56-test veteran has been accused of being selfish, but man who knows Smith best – his father – says future NRL Immortal is anything but that
« All he tried to do was give it his all in the game he loved as a child
« Cam is usually the last to leave the field after games because he wants to thank the fans. He understands what the game means to kids because he was one of those kids who dreamed of doing it
“Some of the cyber bulling Cam cops are exaggerated It depresses me when people continually attack Cameron Ask the players which player they want next to them in the trenches For a man they will support Cam Smith Even Johnathan Thurston speaks with admiration for Cam and they have a great friendship
« As a parent you want your children to grow up as a decent person and no one can take away the fact that he is a decent man »
Smith senior said he was stunned by the reaction of Smith’s wife who received a diamond ring from the NRL
« Cam said to Todd Greenberg, ‘Dude, I don’t want a ring for my 400th game, I’ve got enough rings If anyone deserves a ring, it’s my wife because she’s the one to have the burden of not having me at home and allowing me to play the game »
« People want to put Cam on so his wife gets a ring What’s the matter? So what do we do about a guy who is the only player in NRL history to play 400 games? Him or his family with nothing give?
For a Logan Brothers junior who dreamed of playing for the Broncos, it is remarkable that Smith played all 430 games for Melbourne in the heart of the AFL instead.
Not that the Broncos didn’t try to sign Smith At the age of 17, Smith met Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, but chose the Storm because he feared his path to freshman might be stuck in Brisbane
« Myself, Cam and her mom came over to the Broncos office and we sat down with Wayne Bennett Wayne (a former cop) was like a typical brassie asking Cam all these questions, » Smith recalls snr.
« Wayne said which team do you support? Cam said I love the Broncos Wayne said who have you always wanted to play for? Cam said the Broncos Wayne said ok, we’ll give you the opportunity to to do
Wayne was very good, but there was never any major pressure from him He never pushed Cam People say the Broncos rejected Cam but he didn’t
« The truth is Luke Priddis was at the Broncos and he was only 23 and potentially a 10-year-old hooker for the club, while Richard Swain got along at the Storm
“It was really only Melbourne or the Broncos The money from both clubs was the same At the time Melbourne had foster club ties to the Norths Devils, so Cam chose the Storm because he was only 17 years old and could still live at home in Brisbane »
Wayne Smith says his son hasn’t told him if he retires, but suspects he will, claiming the Storm champion would hate the idea of playing a year too long and failing
“What motivates Cam more than anything is that he can’t stand letting people down,” he said.
“I don’t see Cameron wanting to play Craig Bellamy (Storm coach) He played against him in the Origin arena but I don’t think he could bring himself to do it at club level, not after all that. ‘they performed together at the Storm
« It’s gonna be weird to think that maybe Cam won’t be at the Storm next year Cam playing soccer for us is like the sun that rises every day
« Cam never thought he would become an NRL legend I remember we had a Christmas party five years ago and for Boxing Day we decided to buy pizza So we’re all going home in this pizza and Cam refused to have any He said i’m in my thirties now i need to watch what i eat
« He’s not ridiculous about his diet, but this piece of pizza could be the difference between making Cam or missing a tackle in a grand finale. »
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