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Coach confronts Smith as mystery rages

Cameron Smith can’t answer the question on everyone’s lips but even Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy wants him to put an end to the waiting game.Smith’s future beyond this year remains a mystery as he weighs up retirement, whether to play another year for the Storm or switch clubs and continue his career elsewhere.Kayo is your…

Cameron Smith can’t answer the question on everyone’s lips but even Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy wants him to put an end to the waiting game.

Smith’s future beyond this year remains a mystery as he weighs up retirement, whether to play another year for the Storm or switch clubs and continue his career elsewhere.

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Some were speculating the NRL veteran would announce a decision after the weekend’s match against Manly, which the Storm won 30-6, but he is yet to make up his mind.

Melbourne wants an answer so it can plan for the future. Young gun hooker Harry Grant is on loan at the Wests Tigers but is planning to return to Victoria in 2021, while Smith’s back-up No. 9 at the Storm Brandon Smith has indicated he will leave the club if the former Queensland and Kangaroos captain plays on next season because he is desperate for more opportunities.

Daily Telegraph rugby league reporter Phil Rothfield says everyone at the Storm — including Bellamy, who is extremely tight with Smith — is hoping for clarity sooner rather than later.

“Before the game against Manly, the Storm actually wanted a decision,” Rothfield told the Big Sports Breakfast.

“And this was based on a conversation I had with their chairman Matt Tripp who, as much as he respects Cameron’s position in the game, he wants to make a call, he wants to let Harry Grant know and he wants to let Brandon Smith know.

“If he is to retire, the Storm want to know about it now because they want to do something special. There’s never been a player in our game like Cameron Smith. There’s never been a better player, there’s never been anyone who has achieved (as much) and played as many games as he has and they want to plan something special.

“Craig Bellamy bailed him up last week on Tuesday and put it on him and said, ‘Look, we’re getting close’. Cameron said, ‘I genuinely don’t know’.”

Rothfield added he believes Smith will make the call to retire this week, but the 37-year-old may keep everyone guessing for a little longer yet.

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While Smith, the most capped player in NRL and Origin history, has earnt the right to end his career on his terms, some are growing impatient.

Fox Sports chief NRL reporter James Hooper believes he owes it to Melbourne to make a decision now.

“I feel as though Cameron Smith is in danger of disappearing up his own Chaminda Vaas if he doesn’t put us all out of our misery sooner rather than later,” Hooper said on The Big League Wrap.

“He has had this incredible career, but he also has this penchant when it comes to big decisions for subterfuge and dragging things out.

“Perhaps part of Cameron enjoys playing games with the media. I’m not sure, but I just feel as though such a big decision — not just for him personally, but for his club as well and other key personnel at that organisation.

“The longer it drags out the more of a soap opera it becomes. If he was going to retire why wouldn’t he put us all out of our misery?

“He has had an incredible career but he does seem to drag things on at times.”

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