Ryan Girdler believes Cameron Smith doesn’t want to bow out after a Grand Final loss, while Nathan Brown believes he is trying to take the pressure off his players.
Smith was chaired off Suncorp Stadium following his side’s preliminary final win and many believe 2020 will be his last season in the NRL, but Smith refuses to announce it.
Girdler believes Smith is playing well enough to go on and if they lose to the Panthers or Rabbitohs next week his competitive fire may make him play on.
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Smith chaired out of Suncorp
NRL: The Friday Night Football team discuss Cameron Smith’s potential retirement after he is chaired off of Suncorp Stadium.
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“You look at the address before the game to the players and you look about the tackle he made, why does age need to be a factor if he is mentally and physically still at the top of his game.
“It shouldn’t come down to this but is he making the decision based on a guy that is waiting to take his spot at Melbourne? And if that guy wasn’t there would he be considering retirement? Is there a need for him to retire because form would say he can go on another year.
“I understand that he probably doesn’t want to go to another club.
“I think the Gold Coast is romantic and I don’t think that would hurt his legacy at all. I think it would be a great thing for the game if he could pass on some of that knowledge to other players. It is only going to benefit those guys and the game in general.
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“I can’t see him retiring if they lose a Grand Final. He’s too competitive. He would want another shot.”
Smith will play his 430th and potentially final game in his seventh Grand Final next Sunday. He could have played an eighth in 2008 were it not for suspension.
However a number of players in the Storm squad will be playing their first Grand Final and Brown believes Smith could be attempting to help those inexperienced players stay on task.
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“It is a grand final so they are going to be looking at competing at their best, so could it be a bit of a distraction?” Brown said.
“I think if Cameron Smith does decide to retire that he may have thought that it could be a distraction, so why distract people?
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“They have got a number of players coming into their first grand final in Brenko Lee and Justin Olam, so there is some inexperience there.
“Cameron would have a reason why he is not saying it and it may well be that reason.
“I think he definitely knows what he is doing and I reckon he would have known for a little while now.
Cameron Smith is chaired off Suncorp Stadium.Source:Getty Images
“I think his wife knows and maybe Bellamy does know, but he made it quite clear last week that he doesn’t need a send-off.”
Regardless Girdler believes not only Smith but the fans deserve an opportunity to say goodbye to arguably the game’s greatest ever player.
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“It is not always about the player and what they want it is about the fans and the game celebrating what Cameron has been able to achieve,” Girdler said.
“Cameron might not like the focus and he might think he will play better without it, but there is people who need to say goodbye and want to show their respects for what he has done for the game.”
Originally published asCaptaincy masterstroke and competitive fire: Why Smith won’t confirm retirement
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