MELBOURNE: Former Australia captain Cameron Smith, one of the greatest players to have graced the game, announced his retirement from professional rugby league on the eve of the new season on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old hooker won two World Cups with the Kangaroos, was instrumental in Queensland's decade-long dominance of State of Origin and played a record 430 National Rugby League games for the Melbourne Storm.
Smith finished his 19th season at the club with a fifth victory in the NRL's championship final last year, although two of those titles were subsequently stripped because of salary cap breaches at the Storm.
Smith announced his retirement through the club after unveiling statues of himself and fellow great Billy Slater outside the club's ground in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"Cameron Smith has today announced his retirement from professional rugby league," the club said in a statement.
"Cam is not only among the most decorated players the game has ever seen, he made an immeasurable contribution to our club on and off the field, and his legacy will be remembered in Melbourne forever."
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)