The late, great, R & B singer James Brown used to be billed as, “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” and while it is true that he never failed to perform, his workload was nothing like that of a modern day rugby player.
Thus, it is almost a relief to us to discover that Melbourne Storm Captain Cameron Smith has decided he can no longer play rep and club football, so he is wisely hanging up his rep boots to make the way for a newcomer and keep his body fit for the code that pays the bills.
It is possible that Smith was thinking along the lines of retiring for some time, but apparently, the final nudge was delivered when he awakened one recent Sunday morning following a Storm match with the Gold Coast Titans convinced that he no longer had the stamina to continue on.
It feels odd to us to say that a 34-year-old is too old for anything, as we were almost Smith’s current age when he was born, but having reached the point in our lives where lifting the foot rest on our recliner when we want to watch a bit of footy has become so taxing on our physical reserve that we were forced to obtain an electrically powered recliner, applaud Smith for recognising that it is time to scale back.
Smith’s semi-retirement will open up an Origin spot for Queensland and another for the Wallabies.
Storm Coach Craig Bellamy had determined that he would rest Smith during NRL games when outcomes were not in question, but like many other veterans, selling Smith on the idea of coming off early was not the sort of task Bellamy relished, as his competitive leader was seldom easy to persuade.
Smith could be reacting to the huge drain he felt last year during Origin, when the NSW Blues gave the Maroons a run for the money. It was the most monumental Origin demand he had ever felt.