Queensland loses Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Queensland loses Smith

By Sharon Mathieson 27/04/2005 07:45:08 PM Comments (0)

Queensland was robbed of one of its most experienced State of Origin players when Canberra five-eighth Jason Smith pulled out of the Maroons squad.

The 33-year-old veteran of 16 games for Queensland announced his immediate retirement from representative football, a day after being a surprise selection in his state's 22-man Origin team.

Smith had no idea he was about to be called up for state duties, especially given he was considering retiring from rugby league a year ago.

But the playmaker, who has been a revelation for Canberra since returning to Australia after four seasons in England, impressed Queensland selectors, who planned to tap into his experience to his team-mates' advantage.

"He hadn't declared himself unavailable so we assumed that he was available," Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris said.

"He's been playing very good footy and we had a certain role for him to play in the squad so it is disappointing but we can understand it.

"We didn't think to ask him and he didn't realise we were naming the squad."

Smith's wealth of Origin experience (16 games) would have proved invaluable for the Queenslanders.

Of the current squad, only skipper Darren Lockyer (18 games) and winger Matt Sing (21 games) boast more appearances in the Maroon jumper.

Morris said selectors would not replace Smith and would stick with a 21-man squad.

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