Cam Smith 'the greatest ever leader'
Queensland coach Kevin Walters has labelled his captain Cameron Smith the greatest leader in Australian rugby league history.
Smith had another outstanding night in the Maroon, collecting his sixth Origin man of the match award and in the process closing within two of Queensland legend Wally Lewis's record of eight.
The Australian hooker guided the Maroons to their 10th Origin series win in 11 years on Wednesday night, with Smith celebrating his fourth series win in five years as captain of the side.
It's just another accolade to Smith's name in what is becoming one of rugby league's most decorated careers.
Walters quickly turned the attention to Smith after securing his maiden Origin series win in his first year as Queensland coach, reminding everyone of what his hooker has achieved.
"If there is a better person or captain that this country has seen then someone better identify them," Walters said.
"I've worked with some great people and captains, but this bloke is really something else.
"He put the icing on the cake tonight with his performance. He is the best leader I've ever seen. The way he is around the team and the way he conducts himself is amazing.
"Queensland have had some great leaders but none better than Cameron Smith.
"He's been a rock for me. We worked together in Melbourne and he's always done his club, state and country proud."
Melbourne, Queensland and Australian teammate Cooper Cronk echoed the thought.
The two have worked together for nearly 15 years and in that time have created a partnership on and off the field that is not rivalled in the current competition.
The Maroons halfback has watched Smith develop into the leader he is today and has lined up with him at every level of football – from the Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup to the Australian Kangaroos in the World Cup.
Cronk says his good friend is the benchmark when it comes to leadership and he believes that no one else comes close to what Smith has become.
"There's no doubt that Smith is the best leader Queensland has ever had," Cronk said.
"I've had a pretty good seat to watch Cameron at a number of levels and I think he's respected the past. He looks at what has gone on before him and he carries it on.
"Cameron is a Queenslander through and through. He takes a lot of pride in his all round performance and one of those aspects is his leadership.
"He's a great captain and a great leader. The accolades he receives are very fitting for the person he is.
"Cameron learnt a lot off Darren Lockyer and he's taken snippets from past captains and coaches and used those to create the leader that he is.
"He's a very smart footballer and he's so consistent. Cameron's reliability is something that helps him always get the job done."