Age does not appear to be affecting Storm skipper Cameron Smith. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Age does not appear to be affecting Storm skipper Cameron Smith. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Astonishing report claims Smith may play on into 2021

AN ASTONISHING report claims there is belief within the Melbourne Storm that captain Cameron Smith will play beyond the 2020 season.

The 35-year-old champion revealed during the 2019 preseason that he had a handshake agreement with coach Craig Bellamy to allow him to retire at any time, possibly pulling up stumps at the end of the Storm's 2019 campaign.

Smith earlier in the summer "stunned" the Storm when he reportedly demanded a two-year deal that would see him through to the end of the 2020 season.

Smith has denied ever making an ultimatum to the club.

Despite Smith already being on track to hit the freakish milestone of 400 NRL games this season, it has now emerged that Storm officials privately believe Smith will play for another year beyond his current contract - seeing him through to the end of the 2021 season.

If Smith were to consider playing on for another three seasons, including 2019, the former Kangaroos skipper would still be a mathematical chance of cracking the 450-game milestone - completely uncharted territory in the game's history.

Freak.
Freak.

The Sydney Morning Herald's Andrew Webster told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast on Friday that Smith was feeling so healthy and fit heading into the start of the season, after retiring from representative football at the start of 2018,  Melbourne expected him to play on until he reached the age of 38.

Webster's comment came after NRL great Laurie Daley said Queensland coach Kevin Walters should be calling Smith, begging him to come out of State of Origin retirement.

Webster responded to that call: "He can make the phone call, but I know what will happen, Cameron Smith's wife Barb will snatch the phone out of his hand straight away and say, 'Absolutely no chance.'

"When you talk to people at the Storm... I know Cameron said he's basically got a handshake agreement with (coach) Craig Bellamy that he could walk out on this new two-year deal at any stage this season.

"The feeling I get from the Storm and people who know Cameron Smith quite well is that he'll probably go on beyond the two years.

"That's just how fresh he seems at the moment while not playing rep football.

"I'd be stunned if he reversed his decision to come back and play Origin football. The proviso from his family is that he could play on, but only if he concentrated on club footy."

- with AAP

News Corp Australia


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