Cameron Smith retires from representative rugby league

Smith made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon

Smith made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon

Cameron Smith has retired from representative rugby league, finishing a career that included 11 wins in the last 12 State of Origin series for Queensland and leading Australia to two World Cup titles.

It means Queensland will have to appoint a new captain and hooker for the Origin series opener against New South Wales on June 6.

Smith made his debut for Queensland in 2003 and played 42 Origin matches, winning 26 - both records in the series which is one of the most storied contests in the sport.

"That is something that I did think about when I was coming to my decision", Smith said when asked about whether he could extend his Storm career now.

He hopes avoiding tours and extra duties will help him attend more family events with his wife and three children while also resting more.

"Having an opportunity now, in the middle of the season, to have a couple of breaks with byes and whatnot, there is going to be no more tours for me at the end of the year".

"Just a little but about the decision I've come to, I think last year more than any other year - the Origin series in particular - had an effect on me both physically and mentally out of any year I've played".

The call is likely to springboard Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough into contention for a Queensland debut in game one, while Jake Granville of the Cowboys could be another option.

Bookmaker TAB immediately dropped its price for a NSW series win from $1.70 to $1.53 in the wake of the announcement. The bad news being that this is the first time since 2003 a Maroons side will be without Cameron Smith.

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.

The 34-year-old rugby league great, who will continue playing for his club Melbourne Storm, is the most capped player in the history of the annual interstate series with a remarkable 42 appearances.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters paid glowing tribute to Smith, saying the Maroons would not be able to replace him with anyone similar.

"Leaves a great legacy for the QLD Maroons and Kangaroos". The legendary Wally Lewis won the honour eight times.

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.

The underlying theme of Smith's entire career is he is a victor.

Fox League expert Matthew Johns rates Smith the greatest big-game, clutch player he has seen.

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