Cameron Smith, Ricky Stuart make peace - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cameron Smith, Ricky Stuart make peace

By David Beniuk 18/10/2008 07:00:55 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos hooker Cameron Smith has declared his public row with coach Ricky Stuart over a grapple tackle will not add to an already controversial start to Australia's World Cup campaign.

Smith had said he would not waste any time in talking out the issue with Stuart at camp Kangaroo after the coach publicly called on the Storm No.9 to be banned for a tackle on Brisbane's Sam Thaiday in week two of the NRL finals.

"We just had a bit of a wrestle when we first came in," Smith joked on Saturday.

"It's water off a duck's back and obviously Ricky had his opinion when that sort of stuff happened but there's no dramas, we're sweet and we just want to get on with playing footy."

Smith was suspended for two matches for the headline-grabbing tackle - a final against Stuart's club side Cronulla and the NRL grand final which Melbourne lost to Manly 40-0.

"He had to say what he wanted to say and it was three weeks ago," Smith said.

"If I want to dwell on that then I'm not going to be enjoying my football, I'm not going to be enjoying my time in camp with my team-mates.

"So it was just a hello and a bit of a chat about what's been happening and what we need to do this week."

Australia's 24-man squad went into camp in Sydney on Saturday ahead of their World Cup opener against New Zealand next Sunday, but have already endured a controversial build-up.

First came the call-up of Tongan squad member Anthony Tupou, and that was followed by the withdrawals of injured pair Justin Hodges and Brett Stewart, replaced by Brisbane duo Karmichael Hunt and Darius Boyd.

Hunt, Boyd and Broncos team-mate Sam Thaiday were questioned by Queensland police last month over a sexual assault allegation at a Brisbane nightclub.

Police have concluded the investigation but say it will be several weeks before it's known whether any charges will be laid.

Asked on Saturday if the squad were concerned about a possible disruption caused by the case, Smith said: "I don't think so but at this stage we're not thinking about that at all.

"It's out of our hands what's happening up in Brisbane.

"Obviously there's some issues there with a couple of our players but our main focus at the moment is this week's game and what we need to do well to get off to the right start for this tournament."

Meanwhile, Australia's players association has been in negotiations with the Australian Rugby League over a $10,000 winning bonus, an amount which would take the Kangaroos' individual earnings to $20,000 for the tournament.

The England squad have been promised around $27,000 should they lift the trophy at Suncorp Stadium on November 22, a fact the Australians seemed unaware of on Saturday.

"Really?" Smith said when informed.

"As long as we get a couple of dollars at the end, everyone will be happy I think."

Smith will also be happy to be back on the field after missing what would have been one of the biggest games of his career.

"I guess it's extra motivation with what happened a few weeks ago," he said.

"It's hard to watch the team run around and you're sitting on the sidelines so I guess the only thing I had to look forward to was the World Cup.

"It's always going to be there, missing out on a grand final, but it was two weeks ago and I've put all that stuff behind me."

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