Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

League legend Cameron Smith quits Origin, Kangaroos

League legend Cameron Smith quits Origin, Kangaroos

Queensland captain Cameron Smith is set to throw Origin preparations into chaos, with the 34-year-old to announce his immediate retirement from representative football this afternoon.

Queensland were already missing Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, who hung up their rep boots last year, and coach Kevin Walters said he would be relying on his remaining senior players to help steer his young Maroons through this year's series.

"As a kid growing up in Queensland, it was always a dream of mine to play for the Maroons, and to be able to achieve that and play alongside so many great players and work with passionate coaches like Mal and Kevvie has been fantastic", he said.

His decision comes on the heels of similar retirements by fellow greats Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston late previous year.

He also paid tribute to his wife Barbara and his children.

"I'd like to think it will give me the opportunity to play on in our domestic competition if it is the right thing for my family and the Melbourne Storm as well".

"In my two years as Head Coach, he's been invaluable from every angle, from leadership and stability to game plans; he's been as good as anyone that's been involved".

Roberto Mancini is Italy coach
His Zenit team finished the Russian Premier League in fifth after beating relegated SKA Khabarovsk 6-0 on Sunday. With the Italian football Federation 53-year-old has signed a two year contract.

Since debuting in 2003, he's played 42 Origin games, winning 26 of them. "I think his performance in game three of last year's Origin performance was one of the best I've seen of anyone at that level and that was at 34 years of age".

Smith's decision is likely to springboard Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough into contention for a Queensland debut, while Jake Granville of the Cowboys could be another option.

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. Smith counts seven Origin man-of-the-match awards to his name, with only Wally Lewis (8) earning more across a career.

The bombshell announcement will leave the Maroons with a huge void to fill in a position Smith has made his own since 2003.

Two premierships with Melbourne Storm, 11 of the last 12 State of Origin series with Queensland and two World Cups with the Kangaroos.

Has touched the ball nearly 2200 times more than any other player at Origin level.

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