Queensland Rugby League State of Origin team train at Coolum. Cameron Smith.
Queensland Rugby League State of Origin team train at Coolum. Cameron Smith. Warren Lynam

Smith’s signing is great for the game

RUGBY league in general, and not just the Storm, is the big winner from the decision by Cameron Smith to re-sign and finish his career in Melbourne.

Despite winning a premiership in its second year, and having contested five more grand finals in the 14 years since, the Storm is often still the NRL whipping boy.

There are so many bigots, with their heads buried deep in the sand, who feel the Melbourne experiment is still just that.

For Smith, the Australian and Queensland captain and the most influential player in the game on and off the field, to decide to play his entire career in Melbourne and almost certainly become the game's most-capped player, is a giant tick for the cultures of Melbourne the city, and Melbourne the club.

And the NRL hierarchy should be elated. With Smith staying, the other holy trinity members, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, will likely follow suit. Not only does that continue to make the Storm competitive, but the club becomes a very attractive option for others.

Some astronomical figures have been bandied about as to what Smith is being paid, but whatever the amount it is a gilt-edged investment.

Power mad

IF MANLY duo Anthony Watmough and Kieran Foran are literally blackmailing the club into re-signing Glenn Stewart - as is speculated - player power has gone too far.

Reports yesterday suggested Watmough and Foran had told the club that if Stewart was allowed to leave at the end of 2014, they would follow suit when their contacts expired the following season. Stewart, incidentally, has a back-ended contract which apparently pays $800,000 this year.

Having a tight-knit playing group is an invaluable asset to any club, but there is a limit. This is a catastrophic example of the tail wagging the dog, and is very unhealthy.

YES, yes, yes

JOHN Cartwright may have whinged about the speed of the game now that subtle rule changes have been made to assure player safety, but I don't hear too many fans complaining about the increase in the number of tries scored last weekend.

Like the Titans coach, I don't want to see the NRL become a touch footy hybrid either, but if players are running from dummy half too often, surely coaches who are being paid a minimum of five-to-six times the basic wage can find ways to circumvent that.

Bring on more tries.

NO, no, no

Please stop us going down the path of referees placing players on report because they have witnessed an illegality on replay on the big screen.

And God forbid there will be a repeat of last Thursday night when an NRL official actually phoned Channel 9 asking for a different angle of the Sonny Bill shoulder charge.

Most fans concur with officials ridding the game of foul play, and it's a given that 99% of perpetrators will be nabbed, but surely we don't need the kind of intrusion that occurred in the 2014 opener.


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