Cameron Smith retirement: Cricket great Carl Rackemann defends NRL legend
Cameron Smith retirement: Cricket great Carl Rackemann defends NRL legend

Cult cricketer defends Smith’s retirement right

Carl Rackemann, the Test fast bowler who never officially retired, has defended Cameron Smith's right to keep the rugby league world guessing.

In an unusual set of circumstances given his high profile, Rackemann, who played 12 Tests between 1982 and 1991, quietly faded from cricket in the mid-1990s without ever announcing his retirement.

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When quizzed about it at the time he was blissfully unrepentant, offering the whimsical quote "I never announced when I arrived so why should I announce when I leave?"

Rackemann, 60, was Cameron Smith a quarter of a century before Cameron Smith, a man who marched to his only drum and felt no need to be pressured into conventional retirement calls.

The rugby league world has sweated on a decision about Smith's future since the Storm's NRL grand final win but he has declined to make a decision with the season kick-off just three days away.

Cameron Smith has left the rugby league world guessing. Picture: Grant Trouville/NRL Photos
Cameron Smith has left the rugby league world guessing. Picture: Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"Why should he have to make an announcement?" Rackemann said of Smith. "Is there any rule in his contract to say that he has to do it?

"He might still be waiting to see what he is capable of and could even start late but that is part of the joyous speculation you can handle in the media.

"It's not a case that I applaud him but I just don't see an issue with what he is doing.''

Rackemann, a farmer who used to make regular trips from his South Burnett home to Brisbane to play and train, said he primarily felt no need to retire from big time cricket because "the selectors stopped picking me" but he played Brisbane grade cricket for Wests until the 1996-97 season.

After missing games early in the season he returned to play one game and realised he needed to work harder to gain match fitness.

 

Carl Rackemann (centre, backrow) retired on his own terms.
Carl Rackemann (centre, backrow) retired on his own terms.

 

"I told (club stalwart) Jon Dooley that I would get up to scratch and get back to him but I never did so I guess that was it."

Gold Coast based Smith's has wrestled with the "R'' word since the grand final and he refused to return many calls to club officials wanting to offer him a final deal.

He told The Courier-Mail before Christmas that he had rung a wide circle of former team-mates looking for clues but ended up more confused than ever.

"The thing that gets me is that Billy (Slater), Paul Gallen and Johnathan Thurston all said they knew the exact moment when they could not do it any more and enough was enough. I have not woken up and thought, "Nup, I just can't do it."

 

Originally published as Cult cricketer defends Smith's retirement right


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