https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/05/18/as- ... -constant/
How Cameron Smith turned around his public persona
Konstantopoulos Timestamp Fri 18 May 2018, 12:00 PM
I am ashamed to reveal this, but I was once a rugby league fan that disliked Cameron Smith.
To be fair, my distaste was not just about Cameron. It extended to the entire Melbourne Storm team, particularly Smith, then Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
As a Parramatta Eels fan, it was very easy to be bitter and jealous of a team that had beaten my own in the 2009 Telstra Premiership grand final.
I did not go into that grand final expecting to win. The Eels had given me enough joy that season after a seven-game winning streak, which saw us just scrape into the finals.
But when it was later revealed the Eels had been beaten by a team that had, for a sustained period, engaged in conduct that breached the salary cap, I remember feeling very angry, then hollow, then disappointed and then ripped-off.
Consider how little footy Cameron has missed over his career. It is no coincidence. He is an extremely clever player, who is always a couple of plays ahead of all the others on the field.
When he becomes the first player in rugby league history to reach 400 career games, it will be an exceptionally significant milestone and a milestone which is fitting for a man whose achievements in the game may never be repeated.
I had the opportunity to meet Cameron last year at the Rugby League Players Association Awards.
Unfortunately, it happened to be the week after the Storm had beaten the Eels in week one of the finals series.
After I introduced myself and mentioned casually that I was an Eels fan, he apologised. I laughed and then took the opportunity to thank him for everything he has contributed to our game – both on and off the field.At one point (and rightly so), the Storm were accused of playing boring, robotic, structured footy. Some people still throw that accusation at them.
When I am old and grey (and still waiting for that Parramatta premiership), I will be able to tell the younger humans in my life about how I had the opportunity to watch Cameron Smith – one of the greatest of all time in a similar way to how my dad tells me about the likes of Ray Price and Peter Sterling.
As for players like Cameron, JT, Slater, Inglis and Cronk we absolutely need to cherish them.