If only our kitchen appliances were as reliable. Cameron Smith has, at the ripe old rugby age of 35, signed an extension for two more years with the Melbourne Storm.
Smith has made 384 appearances, the record to date. He will surpass 400 around Round 17 of the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition, assuming that he remains healthy.
There were times during the off-season where Smith’s future was uncertain. The main point of contention was the length of the extension, as is customary for players who have made it into their 30s.
Smith’s position was a bit dodgy. If he could not make a deal with Melbourne, it would be hard to imagine one of the other clubs, even somewhere like Parramatta, offering him enough to convince him to stay on and not hang up his boots.
“I’m very happy to be continuing my career with the club that gave me an opportunity to play first grade rugby league,” Smith said. “With Bill Slater and Ryan Hoffman retiring last season, I want to give Craig [Bellamy] and the coaching staff all the support they need, particularly with so much talent coming through.”
Smith’s existence in the NRL has been a charmed one. He made his debut in 2002 and has managed to avoid serious injury. Other players anywhere near that sort of longevity carry at least one, and likely several, reconstructive knee surgeries around with them.
Smith decided last year to retire from representative football and with the pressure and intensity of that removed from his view, along with continued good fortune, the end of the 2020 season, not assuming finals appearances, will put him around 436 caps for his NRL career.
There is a lot of football to be played between now and then, however, and how the situation would play out if Smith decides that he is done at the conclusion of the 2019 season could prove interesting.
Melbourne is on the second line of the 2019 NRL Premiership markets and should the Storm win the competition, the temptation to go out on a high note could prove strong for Smith.