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Smith decision overshadows NRL thriller

The Cameron Smith retirement speculation is set for another week after the Storm skipper admitted he‘s still no closer to making a decision.Speaking after his side‘s dramatic 22-16 comeback win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Smith admitted there’s “no new news” after another week of speculation.Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership.…

The Cameron Smith retirement speculation is set for another week after the Storm skipper admitted he‘s still no closer to making a decision.

Speaking after his side‘s dramatic 22-16 comeback win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Smith admitted there’s “no new news” after another week of speculation.

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Smith, arguably the greatest player of all-time or at very least the most capped and highest pointscorer ever to lace up a boot in rugby league, has been a hot topic of discussion all week.

On NRL 360 there was hot debate between the panellists whether Smith should go so the club can retain Harry Grant and Brandon Smith, or whether he had earned the right to choose when he should pull the pin.

Reports also emerged that Craig Bellamy had asked Smith what he was planning to do, with no firm answer, while the Storm board we meeting to push Smith for an answer.

Bellamy even revealed he believed Smith would be an “ideal representative coach, like the Origin coaches who do three games a year or the Australian side who don‘t play that many games”.

Earlier on Friday, the Courier Mail released a report that had social media buzzing, reporting the Melbourne Storm were bracing for captain and NRL legend Cameron Smith to announce his retirement.

The Courier Mail report said the decision would come down “before the start of the Storm‘s finals campaign later this month”.

Storm boss Matt Tripp also denied a deadline had been placed on Smith but believe he will draw his decorated career to a close.

But the man himself could still not confirm or deny anything.

“Obviously I‘m a bit closer – every day that goes by I’m a bit closer, aren’t I, whenever that decision is going to be made,” Smith smiled. ”From last week to today, there’s no new news.

“All I‘ve been concentrating on and focusing on is my role in this footy side. As I said, we’re doing some really good stuff around the team at the moment and we’ve got a fair bit of confidence around our style of footy and what we’re doing on the footy field. At the moment, there’s no decision unfortunately.

“I know everyone‘s waiting on it and I said last week that I want to make a decision as soon as I can both for myself and for my family and also for the Melbourne Storm. I know the club are waiting as well. They’ve all been great to be fair, Craig and Frank Ponissi in Melbourne. The board and the administration have been great and given me my space and allowed me to just worry about footy. And at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”

Asked if a premiership would sway the NRL legend, Smith said “it would play a huge part” but said it was what everyone who comes through the door each pre-season strives for.

Once again, Bellamy was asked about Smith‘s decision and he admitted the Storm skipper “was finding it hard to make a decision”.

“At the end of the day, he deserves to have the time that he wants,” he said. ”You‘d like to think he was getting close and the club would ideal like to have decision but I can’t put any pressure on him. With our salary cap, we’ve got a plan if he plays, we’ve got a plan if he doesn’t play. As I said, for me, what he’s done for our club and what he’s done for the game in general, I think he deserves to decide in his own time. When he’s ready to make his decision he will and I’ll support him 100 per cent in whatever that decision is.”

Bellamy said he also had no doubt that Smith could play again.

It overshadowed a thriller in the wet with the Storm coming from 14-6 down just before halftime to overwhelm the Rabbitohs in the second half.

A Justin Olam try just before the break brought it back to 14-10 at the break and the Storm ground out the victory with Souths unable to break the Storm’s steely defence in the second half.

It took until the 65th minute for the Storm to seal the result with Cameron Munster bursting over the line.

The loss ended a five-game losing streak for the Rabbitohs, while the Storm have opened up a four point gap to the Eels in third with the gutsy win.

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