Cameron Smith exit takes ‘sad’ turn as NRL great leaves mates hangingSmith is walking off into the sunset.


Some of Cameron Smith’s friends and former teammates who have known him for years reportedly can’t even get in touch with the NRL legend as he drifts into the rugby league wilderness.

While the 37-year-old hasn’t officially announced his retirement, the odds of him returning to professional footy appear almost non-existent as he settles into life on the Gold Coast, seemingly happy to walk away without a fuss.

Although questions about his future dominated the end of last year and continued into the off-season, Smith’s playing days appear behind him — unless he makes an unlikely return for a Queensland-based club like the Broncos or Titans.

That would be remarkable considering he hasn’t taken part in any pre-season training. However, the scrapping of the June 30 transfer deadline, which has been pushed back to August 1, sparked speculation Smith could be a late-season arrival at a club looking to bolster its ranks heading into the finals.

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NRL commentator Andrew Voss believes Smith’s vanishing act is “just bizarre”, and said it’s “sad” the Storm and even his mates have reportedly struggled to reach the premiership-winning captain.

“I declare it one of the strangest stories I’ve come across in all my time watching rugby league,” Voss said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“Some of his closest friends that I’ve spoken to, friends who played with him for years, haven’t been able to speak to Cameron. They leave messages — no reply. What’s all that about?

“The Storm can’t get any replies. To be honest, bizarre has become a bit sad.

“If the playing career is all over, and that’s the way it appears, it is the strangest exit in the history of sport.”

Smith will reportedly return to Melbourne ahead of the Storm’s Round 1 clash against South Sydney for the unveiling of a bronze statue at AAMI Park of him and Billy Slater, but won’t be hanging around to watch his former team open the season because of a prior engagement.

It’s also been reported he won’t address his former teammates — another sign Smith is keen to avoid the limelight after a stellar playing career that spanned nearly two decades.

“Cameron will be in Melbourne tomorrow for the unveiling of a statue, a tremendous honour for he and Billy Slater,” Voss said. “But, we’re told he won’t be seeing, I guess we’ll call them his former teammates, in Melbourne, nor will he stick around for the opening game of the season on Thursday night.

“He apparently has a prior commitment, so the club hasn’t been able to plan anything of the tribute kind.”

Melbourne hooker Brandon Smith is a beneficiary of Cameron’s absence, because with Harry Grant injured, he gets first shot at the newly-vacant dummy-half role. But the Kiwi rake would still like to be reunited with the Storm icon.

“I texted him the other day and he said he misses us and stuff,” Smith said. “I’m not sure where he’s at right at the moment.

“I’m trying to buy his golf clubs off him and he hasn’t texted me back, but I’d love to see him walk through the door.”



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