Maroons star Cameron Smith quits weeks before Origin opener

The champion hooker will continue playing for the Melbourne Storm but he will no longer represent his state or country

Maroons star Cameron Smith quits weeks before Origin opener

The rugby league-loving community have shared numerous tributes to Cameron Smith following news of his retirement from representative football.

Smith's exit is likely to springboard Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough into a Queensland Origin debut in the June 6 series opener at the MCG, while Jake Granville of the Cowboys could be another option.

As a stalwart of the Maroons, Smith oversaw the greatest period of dominance ever seen in the series, with Queensland winning 11 out of the past 12 series.

At a press conference, Smith said it was the difficulty returning to the Storm after playing State of Origin that led to his decision.

A playmaking hooker and goalkicker, Smith took over as Queensland and Australia captain in 2012 and was voted the Rugby League International Federation's player of the year.

"The origin series in particular had an effect on me both physically and mentally out of any year I played", he said.

"I just didn't get the same vibe that I've had over the last couple of years with him, with his enthusiasm and drive", Walters said.

He captained Queensland to six Origin series victories, which included filling in for the injured Darren Lockyer in 2008 before becoming full-time skipper four years later.

He played 56 tests for Australia, including wins in the 2013 and 2017 World Cup.

His decision comes on the heels of similar retirements by fellow greats Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston late previous year. Smith has won two NRL premierships with the Storm.

"To me, that speaks volumes again of the person and character that he is".

Maroons coach Kevin Walter said he had an inkling that Smith was wavering about Origin in their discussions through the year.

He also paid tribute to his wife Barbara and his children.

"Respect and humility - he shows that every day".

"He's been a great person for the game, more than anything else", Walters said.

I started having some small thoughts about finishing up my representative career past year.

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