Queensland captain Cameron Smith says thoughts of retirement arose as early as last year's Origin series, citing a mentally and physically draining 2017 campaign as one of the main reasons for his shock decision. My eldest has been to pretty much every rep game.
Fox Sports reports that Smith, along with Queensland coach Kevin Walters, will hold a press conference in Melbourne at 1pm this afternoon, where Smith will confirm he is walking away from Maroons and Kangaroos football effective immediately. "I don't know, maybe the length of that season of being away for three Origin games and then a six-week period with the Kangaroos sort of confirmed to me that it was getting more hard for me to be away from my wife and children".
Despite being well below their best this NRL season, Darius Boyd and Matt Scott are set to receive a Maroons call-up because of the leadership vacuum left by Smith's sudden exit.
I started having some small thoughts about finishing up my representative career previous year.
He said he would lay on the couch at home exhausted physically and mentally after playing State of Origin.
"I firstly want to congratulate him on a fantastic representative career, not only for Queensland but also for the Kangaroos", Walters said. "I think his performance in game three of last year's Origin performance was one of the best I've seen of anyone at that level and that was at 34 years of age".
His exit coincides with the representative retirements of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, which were announced previous year. "It's a massive blow", Walters said.
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Greg Inglis is widely seen as the most likely option to replace Smith as Queensland captain, with Inglis and NSW skipper Boyd Cordner in the frame to lead the national team.
"We'll get to that in the next couple of weeks", Walters said.
He has made 42 appearances for Queensland Maroons in the State of Origin, winning 11 series.
In that period he missed just one match - the series opener in 2010 due to injury - and won a record 26 matches.
With North Queensland languishing near the bottom of the NRL ladder, prop Scott has been indifferent form.
The Broncos (5-5), Cowboys (3-7) and Titans (3-7) have all underperformed this season and Queenslanders were looking for their Origin outfit to lift their spirits.