Cameron Smith keeps on delivering - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cameron Smith keeps on delivering

Guy Hand 28/05/2011 11:58:13 AM Comments (0)

As a little-known 19-year-old youngster was earmarked as departing Melbourne Storm hero Richard Swain's replacement, it's fair to say eyebrows were raised.

Hard-working hooker Swain had been a foundation player at the NRL club until shown the door at the end of 2002.

As Swain's contract talks broke down, the Storm quietly signed teenager Cameron Smith to a long-term deal.

They were convinced they had found a keeper.

As he approaches his 200th NRL match on Sunday, it's hard to imagine Storm fans could have had any misgivings about a player who has risen to become synonymous with the club and its success.

By midway through his first full season in 2003, Smith was called up to State of Origin football.

He has only missed one Origin match since. He has played for and captained his country.

His machine-like tackling, leadership and on-field intelligence have led to him being ranked among the best to have played the game.

"We're just such a lucky club he ended up playing with us," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"Cameron's one of those guys who's just so reliable in the high performance he puts in each week.

"He never makes less than 40 tackles, he always has about 10 runs, kicks a few goals for us, and leads by example out there.

"To do the things he does week-in, week-out for his club, his country and his state, he's one hell of a special player."

Melbourne's skipper will become just the second Storm player to reach the 200 game milestone after ageless utility Matt Geyer.

Smith also prides himself on being able to back up from Origin at full tilt for his club.

He will do that again for the Storm against Cronulla at AAMI Park on Sunday - a match Melbourne are desperate to win to address a stunning loss to Canberra a fortnight ago in their last hitout.

Melbourne still remain second on the ladder with seven wins from their 10 games - well ahead of the struggling Sharks, who are 3-7 and second bottom.

But Cronulla regain inspirational back-rower Paul Gallen and prop Kade Snowden from Origin duty, though they are still without several other key players.

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