Where to next for Cameron Smith?
When it comes to the phenomenal athlete known as Cameron Wayne Smith, there are arguments to be made that he is the best ever to lace on a pair of Rugby League boots and to play the greatest game of all. On matches played alone, he has represented Melbourne on 400+ occasions, played 40+ matches for Queensland, been in just under 60 games for the Kangaroos and he also has 4 All-Star appearances next to his name. He’s also played in an incredible 8 Grand Finals, of which he has won 4 (if you include the stripped titles). While he’s also achieved countless victories with his state and national sides, as well as a huge number of individual accolades. None more impressive than his 2 Dally M awards for best player of the NRL season.
So it comes as absolutely no surprise that given his already certified legendary status within the game and that given his contract expires at the end of this campaign with Melbourne, that his future is under constant intense speculation within the Rugby League world. The most talked-about rumours/options are him staying with the side that he has helped shape into one of the best ever, in the form of the Storm. There is also the widely reported one of him blasting of to arch-rivals Brisbane or him perhaps calling it quits for good. Then there is also the alternative, less talked about options, such as him heading to Bondi or hopping on what would no doubt be a private jet over to England for a bit. That will all be talked about right here.
Staying with Melbourne
Melbourne is the club that has helped make him into the player that he is today. And he is the player that has helped make Melbourne into the club that they are today. Quite literally, it is a match made in heaven. Since 2002 when he made his debut, himself and the club have worked hand-in-hand together to deliver each-other amazing successes. And it’s been made all the sweeter by the fact that they overcame the Salary Cap Scandal together and were able to move from Wooden Spooners to GF winners within a short period of time. The Storm is hands down one of the best clubs in the league and a lot of that comes down to Smith and what he’s been able to do for the club, both on and off the field. So, whether he stays, or he goes, there will be no harsh feelings about his decision from either the club or the fans themselves. And one day there is bound to be a statue of him outside AAMI Park. But Smith still has footy skills as good as anyone in the game. Why not stay and win a few more titles before he departs?
Heading over to Brisbane
Outside of Melbourne, Brisbane is the other NRL club that has been heavily linked to him, as per Fox League and various other sports media outlets. Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has even come out publicly and said the club would love to have someone of his calibre on board at the under-fire franchise. And to be fair to him, who wouldn’t want the Storm captain at their club? Brisbane is having one of their worst seasons on record under Seibold, but you can just imagine bringing Smith in at some point in the near future would absolutely change all of that. The man breathes success and that would be infectious to his fellow team-mates and hopefully, the toxic culture that has engulfed the club as of late. There are public spats, board fighting and over-paid flops, among other bad things going on with Brisbane at the moment. But signing Smith would be a massive step in the right direction. That’s for sure!
A move to Bondi
It hasn’t been talked about much, if at all. But if Cooper Cronk did it, then why can’t he? Cronk experienced great success at the Roosters, winning 2 Premierships in his 2 seasons there. If Smith could achieve something similar, that would only add to his long-lasting legacy. The Roosters are very strategic and smart in the sense that they most always find a way for things to work financially, so I’m sure that with a bit of manoeuvring, that they could fit Smith in somehow if they wanted to. And could you just imagine Smith finding a hole for Tedesco to burst through? What a sight that would be! + Another benefit of this move would be that the Chooks have a lot of young talent on their roster including players such as Flanagan, Ikuvalu, Lam and Lewis among others. Just like he’s done at Melbourne with the likes of Momirovski, Papenhuyzen and Johns, he could be absolutely crucial in the development of those young Bondi guns as well. And he’s pretty much guaranteed to win at least a Premiership in the event he does decide to choose the beaches instead of the art galleries.
Not that he needs the money. As this season alone his contract is reportedly worth 800K and this is with him being over 37 years old! But heading overseas for one last hurrah would definitely come with the added benefit of a big last paycheque as it traditionally does for most NRL veterans heading over there for a season or two before they call it quits for good. It would also add something a bit different from his career. And if he could play overseas until he reaches 40 or a similar age, he could win over a hell of a lot more people in the debate of best ever to play the game. + He would be treated as an absolute rock-star over there. Rugby League might be outdone by Football as the biggest sport over there. But for those that actually do follow League, they love it to death. He’d be treated like an absolute A-list celebrity and would pack out/ or closely pack out most stadiums he’d play in. For a couple of years, why not? It’d be quite a fun experience.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, Smith has nothing left to prove. He has quite literally already won and achieved and experienced everything that the game has to offer. So, if Melbourne were to hypothetically win the Premiership this year, that could be the perfect high to go out on. And there’s a damn good chance that they will, given that they are currently 2nd on the ladder, with 10 victories from 12 matches so far. Of which Smith has been a massive part of with 1 try and 9 try assists. Also, he has an average of 54m’s gained per match. He could then sail off into the sunset without a care in the world and do what he pleases. And he could definitely pursue a career as either a specialist coach or a commentator given his skill set. And if this is his final season, on behalf of all Rugby League fans around the world, thank you, Cameron, for blessing us for so long with your incredible and unique Footy IQ.
So, there you have it, all the options for Cameron Smith laid right out there. Some more popular than others (cough, cough, only Roosters fans would want him to end up there). But regardless of what he ultimately decides to end up doing, let’s just enjoy his current rich vein of form this campaign, as it could be the last we ever see of him on a Footy field. He is a blessed player who is incredibly skilled and has no doubt earned the right to decide where he next ends up or stays at. Regardless of whatever he chooses, it’s bound to be interesting.