Smith: I got JT this time

Over the off-season Cameron Smith didn't give much thought to surpassing the 2,000 points mark in his career, at least not until the messages started rolling in from Johnathan Thurston.

Whether through a mere coincidence or a twist of fate, the two Queensland greats arrived at the eve of the milestone in near perfect unison, with Smith entering the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season just seven shy of the mark and Thurston five.

After each clocking four points in Round 1, Smith kicked a conversion in the 26th minute of Melbourne's 26-10 victory over the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday to become the first Queenslander and forward to achieve the 2,000-point milestone, and perhaps just as importantly, gain bragging rights over good mate 'JT'.

"I didn't really think about it too much to be honest, although Johnathan Thurston has been texting me a fair bit over the last couple of weeks asking who is going to get there first," Smith said post-match.

"But I got him this time… because we played two hours before him."

And so it eventuated that almost exactly two hours after Smith became the fifth player to join the 2,000 club, 3,000kms away at Suncorp Stadium Thurston became the sixth.

 


The pair join Hazem El Masri, Andrew Johns, Jason Taylor and Daryl Halligan as the only players to have reached the mark so far.

While his consistent ability to bang goals over from all manner of angles makes Smith one of the most reliable kickers going around, he jokingly lamented the fact that only 160 of his total points haul have come from tries (40 of them since 2002).

"It would have been nice if I could score a few more four-pointers rather than two-pointers, but I got there in the end," Smith said.

"[But] it's a proud moment and something that will be very special when I finish up.

"I am very fortunate that I have played for a wonderful club for a long time and alongside some fantastic players who have given me the opportunity to score those points."

Winger Suliasi Vunivalu, who scored a try in the win over the Warriors, said he remained in awe of 33-year-old Smith's longevity.

"For him to be playing at the level he is still, is amazing. He still plays better than any young guy in his position, he is the No.1 hooker in the game," Vunivalu told NRL.com.

"He deserves to reach this milestone, for him to get that is pretty special.

"He doesn't make much of this stuff, he is so humble." 

Smith now has another significant milestone within reach, with the Kangaroos, Maroons and Storm skipper requiring just 19 more games to surpass Darren Lockyer (355) for the most first-grade games played.