Smith: I would have let Queensland down
CAMERON Smith has explained his decision to retire from representative football so close to State of Origin and says he'd be letting Queensland down if he played on.
The longtime Test and Queensland captain stunned the rugby league world three weeks ago when he announced his exit, leaving him to focus solely on NRL duties with Melbourne.
Some have questioned the timing, so close to Wednesday's Origin series opener, and whether that was right for the Queensland team.
Smith revealed his mind was pretty well made up before the season began but said he needed more time to confirm it.
"I probably had made the decision before I started this year,' Smith said ahead of the series opener in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
"But I just wanted to make sure that it was the right decision.
"I wanted to play a few games which I think I said after the World Cup when I was asked whether I'd continue playing rep football.
"I'd have my time away over the off-season and then get back into training and see how I started in the first month or six weeks."
Smith, who holds the record for most Origin games and wins, as well as seven man-of-the-match awards, wanted to see if he felt the urge to return to Origin camp.
Midway through last month, he made the call.
"It just wasn't there," Smith said.
"So playing 42 matches and being involved in Origin for 15 years, it was the right time for me to step away and I really did feel that if I chose to play on, I would've been letting my teammates down.
"I would've been letting my state down, because I wouldn't have been fully committed to it."
Smith was a notable figure in the Maroons' captain's run at the MCG on Tuesday, where he spoke to coach Kevin Walters and also gave successor Andrew McCullough some advice before his debut.
However Smith insisted he still felt comfortable he had made the right decision.
"There was no feeling of jealousy of not being out there training or having that Maroons jersey on, running in a captain's training session," he said.
"I felt at ease and really happy to be there to say g'day to the team, wish them good luck and watch them go through their final paces."