Forgive me for one moment when I say this, but watching Cameron Smith play rugby league reminds me a bit of my glory days for the Coffs Harbour Comets. Sure, his standard is about 48 rungs higher than I could have ever hoped to have reached but the fact that he’s not the biggest, strongest or fastest player on a rugby league field is a comparison I feel comfortable in drawing.
In many respects he looks like one of us and carries himself as someone you’d love to have a beer with at the pub, yet his on-field accomplishments go beyond anything other than the very elite in rugby league have been able to achieve.
Of course, Cameron’s skills go beyond the mere physical – although plenty of players will tell you he is as strong as anyone in the comp. His brain is plotting Melbourne’s clinical attack four and five plays ahead and he can have an enormous influence on a game without even being noticed.
Perhaps that’s the greatest testament to his talent: He rarely wins man-of-the-match awards yet if you gave it to him every week no-one would argue.
No player in the game holds a higher position than the captain of the defending premiers, seven-time Queensland State of Origin team and Australia Kangaroos so to have Cameron join Big League as a regular columnist is a major coup for this magazine.
One of the most respected, accomplished and likeable players in the game today, Cameron will pen regular pieces for Big League throughout the season, his insights shedding light on areas of the game us mere mortals can only dream of.
We started by asking him to take us behind-the-scenes to arguably the form player of the competition through two rounds; club, state and national team-mate, Cooper Cronk. Cooper is not your regular rugby league player and wasn’t a halfback until the Storm had no-one left to turn to, yet his dedication to giving himself the best possible chance of playing to the best of his ability is perhaps unmatched in the NRL.
Cooper may shy away from the media and rarely divulges personal information but Cameron has strong views on almost all areas of the game and isn’t afraid to share them. It’s why we are so excited to have him on our team in 2013.
Our poll last week on your favourite night for footy threw up some interesting results. Thursday nights have been warmly embraced by TV viewers in particular, while Friday nights still reign supreme as the time you’re most looking forward to watching the NRL.
Players we have spoken to are concerned about the turnaround times between games that Thursday nights can create so it will be interesting to see when the season draws to a close whether there is a push to move the Monday night game to a regular Thursday night fixture in 2014.