Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Cameron Smith recently announced his retirement from professional Rugby League after making his debut back in 2002.
Throughout his playing days, Smith took part in a plethora of great games, but these five are just about the best.
ROUND 8 2020 – MELBOURNE STORM V SYDNEY ROOSTERS
It’s crazy to think that Cameron Smith was still able to partake in and have a significant influence on an all-time great matchup in the twilight of his career.
Oddly enough Melbourne was the underdogs headed into this game, as the Roosters were back to back defending premiers and the Storm had just moved from Victoria to Queensland to keep the competition alive and complete their season on short notice.
Rather than put in what would have been an understandable poor performance, Smith and his world-class teammates were at their best and put on a Grand Final worthy performance against the Roosters.
Following a back and forth contest, the scores were tied at 25 apiece and it all came down to a penalty goal kicked by Smith himself to claim a 27-25 victory for the Melbourne Storm.
2020 NRL GRAND FINAL – PENRITH PANTHERS V MELBOURNE STORM
While the 2020 NRL Grand Final was a superb game that came down to the wire, it will likely not go down as one of the greatest of all time.
However, it will go down in history as Cameron Smith’s final game, and they say you are only as good as your last match, so how did Smith perform?
The 400 plus game veteran had a solid game scoring a try, making a line break, breaking one tackle, and making 34 tackles for an efficiency rate of 91.9%.
As always Smith was also extremely influential on the game as a result of his leadership.
What a legacy! 👑 pic.twitter.com/hgrQUJMeyK
— NRL (@NRL) March 10, 2021
2008 NRL SEMI-FINAL – BRISBANE BRONCOS V MELBOURNE STORM
It’s hard to leave this game out when Smith himself has stated that the 2008 semi-final against the Broncos is the greatest game he has ever played in.
Melbourne finished the 2008 NRL season as minor premiers and was shockingly beaten by the New Zealand Warriors in the first week of the finals, which meant that the Storm had to travel to Brisbane for an elimination final against fifth-placed Broncos.
Smith has said in the past that playing at Suncorp Stadium against Brisbane has motivated him to put in a world-class performance due to the Broncos overlooking him as he was coming through the grades, and this game is the perfect example of that.
Fans were treated to a Grand Final-like performance from both sides, as Smith led his side to a 14-12 victory and a spot in the Preliminary Final.
ORIGIN III 2012 – QUEENSLAND V NEW SOUTH WALES
During Queensland’s eight State of Origin series wins in a row, they never came closer to losing a series than in 2012.
Both Queensland and New South Wales had won one game each heading into game III at Suncorp Stadium, and the Blues came back late to tie the game at 20 apiece.
Instead of beginning to panic, the Maroons’ leaders including captain Cameron Smith remained cool, calm and collected, with Cooper Cronk slotting the game-winning field goal in the 74th minute.
2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP FINAL – AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND
As a child, Cameron Smith would pretend to be the Australian captain when playing in his backyard, and that dream would eventually come true as Smith has arguably become the greatest player to ever don the green and gold.
Smith’s greatest achievement playing for Australia came in his final game for the nation, as he captained the Kangaroos to a second straight World Cup victory in a classic final against England.
This was a brutal and gritty affair as Australia defended a 6-0 lead for 65 minutes against England’s greatest side of the modern era.
Cameron Smith’s impact was clear to see as he made 43 tackles, which was more than anyone else in the game.