NRL legend Billy Slater has leapt to the defence of former teammate Cameron Smith‘s legacy after a story revealed an often unseen blunt side to the superstar.
Smith‘s future has been a hot topic of conjecture with continued reports of an imminent decision, as the 37-year-old tosses up if he wants to continue for another season in the NRL with New Zealand hooker Brandon Smith and boom rookie Harry Grant in line behind the rugby league legend.
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While the attention around Smith‘s decision has been drawn out and heavily debated by rugby league pundits, talk is turning to what his legacy will be when it’s all said and done.
Smith is the most capped player in NRL history, more than 50 games and counting ahead of the second placed Cooper Cronk and the only player to have passed 400 first grade games, not to mention 56 games for Australia and 42 for Queensland.
He also holds the record for most points scored.
He‘s been the Dally M player of the year twice – in 2006 and 2017 – hooker of the year eight times and at the very least one of the greatest players to ever play the game, if not the greatest.
Cameron Smith has a pretty sweet legacy.Source:Getty Images
But in James Hooper‘s column on Fox Sports, a rarely seen side of Smith was revealed.
Hooper reported that before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final, Cronk was set to play his final game in green and gold before leaving Melbourne and moving to the Sydney Roosters.
Having addressed the team the night before the game, Cronk reportedly had a few more words on the day of the game.
But Smith, who leads more with his actions than his words and was “famous for simply giving players ‘a look’” with other players not wanting to let him down, said ”none of you c***s better let me down today”.
How much is truth, how much his myth is between Smith and the people in that room but Hooper wrote it was “Ruthless, borderline sociopathic, it’s the type of small Michael Jordan, Andrew Johns-esque insight which explains why success has followed Smith everywhere he’s been”.
But former teammate and fellow rugby league icon in Slater was quick to jump on social media to cast doubt on the story.
Slater has leapt to the defence of his great mate.Source:AAP
Slater, who was the fullback for Australia during the 2017 World Cup final that Australia won 6-0 over England, said it was unlike Smith to make it all about him.
“I’ve played a couple of games with this guy and been apart of a few pregame speeches and not once have I heard Cam make it about him,” he tweeted in direct response to the article. ”Let his legacy find its place instead of trying to create it for him.”
I’ve played a couple of games with this guy and been apart of a few pregame speeches and not once have I heard Cam make it about him. Let his legacy find its place instead of trying to create it for him. https://t.co/rCmqR1yMDc
Channel 9 commentator Peter Psaltis also defended Smith.
“I’ve never heard Cameron Smith make any of his pre game addresses about himself! It’s always for the team & in Origin it’s all about the state,” he tweeted.
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