Storm get best of Smith as Origin retirement kicks in
Cameron Smith's decision to retire from Origin football is already paying dividends for the Melbourne Storm.
The Melbourne skipper - who made the decision to step down from the Holden State of Origin arena last month - played some of his best football of the season in the Storm's 32-16 win over Brisbane at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Smith shone in attack and defence, finishing with 246 kicking metres and 50 tackles, as well as controlling the ruck expertly.
"I've felt great coming to training and preparing for this match," he said.
"The weight was off the shoulders over the last two weeks, just preparing with the team. I've had a bit of an extra bounce in the step."
There's certainly no regrets for the Storm skipper about giving up his Origin duties, even though he felt envious as his beloved Queenslanders were running onto the MCG on Wednesday night.
"There was a slight moment on Wednesday night - when the boys ran out and you hear the roar of the crowd - that's probably a moment I missed," he said.
"But as soon as the game got underway, I was just excited. To sit with my family at on Origin was pretty cool."
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Smith provided the performance his team needed.
"He always steps up every week, but to go out and perform like he did is a real credit to him," he said.
"If he hadn't played today, we would have been in a little bit of trouble. He was outstanding."
Bellamy was also happy with the way his side kept hold of the football and closed the game out.
"I thought over the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second half, we were really dominant," he said.
"We controlled the ball really well, which has been a little bit of a fly in the ointment for us. We got some real momentum and after being 10 points down, to being eight points in front, I thought it was a terrific effort from our guys."
International prop Jesse Bromwich suffered a hamstring tear and Bellamy said it could keep him out for a lengthy period, scans permitting. Winger Josh Addo-Carr suffered a corked thigh but was able to finish the game.
The Storm next face the 11th-placed Knights on Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium.