https://www.melbournestorm.com.au/news/20192/01/10/the-skipper-signs-on/The skipper signs on
Thu 10 Jan 2019
Cameron Smith will lead the club into the 2019 season after signing a two-year contract extension.
Smith fronted the media at AAMI Park today revealing he was adamant the club should secure the future of out-of-contract rising stars ahead of his own contract negotiations.
"We had some talented young guys coming off contract with the club looking to attain or extend their contract," he said.
"I recognised that was important and I was wary of that – there is no use going in and signing a contract and having no quality players around me.
"Cameron Munster is the perfect example – I spoke with our CEO Dave (Donaghy) and said to him 'that is of higher importance, make sure that gets sorted first.'" Smith will continue to lead the team into the 2019 season, with Donaghy yesterday praising the Storm captain for always having the club's best interest in mind over the last 12 months.
"Cameron made it clear to us through the season he wanted to play on in 2019 but he saw it was more important to secure the future for the likes of Cameron Munster before him," Donaghy said.
"Being a one-club player is rare in footy these days and it's a credit to Cameron for sticking with us.
"There's no doubt having Cameron around to help with the development of our next wave of players will be of enormous value to the team and the Club more broadly."
"I was feeling really good after the 2018 season... as good as I've ever felt and that was the reason I asked the club for two years," Smith said.
"There was no haggling or pushing the club into a decision, I just posed the question.
"If it was a dead-set no from the club I would have been happy to go ahead with the 12 months and reassess during this season."
Smith said there had been "no issues" around the terms of the contract.
"Players like Hoffman, Slater and Cronk – we have all been wary of making sure we have a strong squad around us.
"If that means you play at this club for less than you could possibly earn somewhere else, that's what you do.
"At this organisation it is all about being selfless and making sure you're thinking of the club and not always looking out for yourself."
The 35-year-old skipper returned to training last week after an extended break and is on track to reach a record 400 NRL games as he heads into his 18th season.
He has avoided major injuries for the bulk of his career and missed only one game last season due to suspension after retiring from representative football.
"400 is a special number – no one has ever reached that and when it's within reach it is certainly in the back of your mind," he said.
"No one has ever played 400 games in our code and I don't think anyone would have imagined the first person to do it – if it happens – would be from a Melbourne rugby league team.
"I still love competing and I haven't been told by any of the coaches that my performance is diminishing in any capacity – that would be a sure sign for me to start thinking about finishing up.
"One thing I am always very conscious of is that I am able to fulfil my role.
"I've had a number of conversations with teammates who have finished up and their advice was always 'play as long as you can' so I have taken their advice.
"I have been very lucky with injuries to allow me to stay on the paddock and I'm hoping that continues throughout this year and the next."