Bellamy says Cameron Smith could coach Qld
LIGHTNING isn't supposed to strike twice.
But Melbourne's Craig Bellamy believes Storm captain Cameron Smith could one day follow the path of another former great player, Mal Meninga, and coach Queensland and Australia.
The man nicknamed "The Accountant" because he looks like he belongs in a business suit more than a football jumper, will go where no man has been before when he plays his 37th State of Origin game for Queensland in Sydney.
It's a humbling honour for a kid from Logan who has played his way to the top to be the captain of his state and country.
Bellamy has been his coach in every one of his 319 NRL games.
And as coach of New South Wales he suffered the pain of losing three straight Origin series to Queensland sides, for whom Smith starred in 2008-09-10.
More than any other person in rugby league, Bellamy knows what makes Smith tick and why he is such a wonderful player.
He is not endowed with size, strength or exceptional speed, but he has a football brain like Wally Lewis - a player who always seemed one step ahead of his opposition and was a brilliant decision maker.
"I've got no doubt with his knowledge he would be a great coach," Bellamy told Australian Regional Media.
"I'm not sure he wants to coach ... I think he could be headed towards a media career. But sometimes as player, when it's gone, you miss that mateship, so you never really know.
"He could be like a Mal Meninga or a Laurie Daley. He could be an Origin coach without a shadow of a doubt." Bellamy said players enjoyed chalking up milestones and this one would be something "extra special".
"When you think of Origin, you think of Wally Lewis and now Cameron is going past him and Locky (Darren Lockyer).
"If he doesn't look at the others (milestones), he will look at this one and feel really proud to have played the most Origins ever."
If Smith continues playing for a few more years, as he said he planned to do, he'll move into the 40s in Origin games.
"He's just so durable and resilient and there's no sign of him stopping. He still loves playing Origin," Bellamy said.
The Storm coach also said while Smith wasn't the biggest, strongest or fastest player, he was blessed with a lot of God given talent and football smarts which he uses better than most players.
"He reads the game so well, and when he sees something he can take advantage of, he does it better than most players. He uses every bit of talent he has been given to the maximum.
"He rarely takes a bad option and defensively he doesn't miss any tackles."
While Smith hasn't played under anyone else at NRL level, Bellamy said he took no credit for turning the Queenslander into a champion player.
"I've been his coach for 14 years and to be honest I haven't taught him much other than to push himself hard," he said.
He also said he didn't have too many "stories" to tell about his skipper because he rarely got himself into bad situations. He does, however, have a habit of always being "last" to do things, which got up Bellamy's nose in the beginning.
"He's always the last guy to turn up. He's never late, but he's always the last guy to the meeting, or out of the shower, or onto the bus after a game," he said.
"It used to irk me, but now I have an appreciation of the old school about him. He likes to sit down with a beer after a win and soak it all up."
If Queensland wins in Sydney, it's a fair bet Smith will be the last man out of the dressing room, cold beer in hand.