Cam better than Boxhead: Kevin Walters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cam better than Boxhead: Kevin Walters

Joe Barton 25/08/2011 06:15:43 PM Comments (0)

His older brother is rated arguably the best hooker in rugby league's history, but Melbourne assistant coach Kevin Walters believes Storm captain Cameron Smith is the best he's ever seen.

Former Canberra and Queensland great Steve Walters revolutionised the role of a hooker in the modern game as he won three grand finals with the Raiders, made 17 appearances for the Maroons and won 18 caps for Australia.

But despite his outstanding record, and their brotherly connection, "Boxhead" just falls short when matched up against Queensland's current rake.

"It's hard to compare eras and the like, but I've certainly not seen a better hooker than Cameron and I think most rugby league judges would agree on that," Walters told AAP.

"His form this year has been fantastic, I think he's gone up another level.

"They're the best hookers from their eras, but Cameron's still got a lot of footy in front of him and hopefully some more improvement as well."

Like most in rugby league, Walters marvels at Smith's incredible work rate and crafty play out of dummy-half, but what grabs his attention most is what he brings to the table as a leader.

"He's been among our top performers most weeks and there's been a lot of good players for the Storm, but he brings the other players along as well, which is all part of being a great leader," Walters added.

"I think the leadership of all the guys has been really good and as our captain he's a big part of that."

Smith's opponent on Friday night, Manly's Matt Ballin, believes the rivalry between the competition's top two teams is built around a healthy mutual respect.

"There's definite respect between the players," Ballin, Smith's one-time understudy at Origin level, said on Thursday.

"Both clubs have a lot of respect for each other. We've played some great games against them and both teams have enjoyed success against each other.

"You got to admire them considering the turmoil they faced last year.

"A lot of people wrote them off but they've had a great year. They've showed they're a quality side and they've got a good culture down there."

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