Melbourne have hosed down fears Cameron Smith is set to dramatically bring down the curtain on his illustrious NRL career over a contract stalemate.
Both Smith and the Storm have stated they want him to play on, however it’s rumoured that the two parties are at loggerheads over money.
It seems unimaginable that Sunday’s grand final loss to the Sydney Roosters may have been the last game of the Storm skipper’s career which has spanned a record 384 NRL games, 42 Origins and 56 Tests.
And Storm CEO Dave Donaghy played down the chances of Smith being forced into retirement without a fitting send-off.
“That’s been my understanding (that Smith wants to play on) the whole way through,” Donaghy said.
“I think when it comes to things like this, that they’re better off done behind closed doors to our timeline rather than others.
“I’m really comfortable with where it’s at and I’m really confident that we’ll see Cameron run around again next year.”
The Storm will resume pre-season training in mid-November though Smith isn’t due back until the new year, giving him plenty of time to sort out his future.
Smith prompted speculation he could hang up his boots with a post-game remark following their preliminary final win over Cronulla suggesting he might follow Billy Slater into retirement if Melbourne won the grand final.
Should Smith play on, and barring major injury, he will become the first player to pass the 400-game milestone midway through the year.
He is also just 32 points behind all-time points record holder Hazem El Masri (2418) and should set a new mark in the early rounds.
“There’s been a bit of talk over the last couple of weeks about retirement – that was just a question posed to me if we were to win (the premiership), and we didn’t,” Smith said at the club’s awards night on Wednesday.
“There’s no doubt I’m keen to play on. The situation at the moment is that club and my management are working through it and everything looks really positive.
“I’m keen to play on and hopefully that’s all sorted soon.”