Maroons star Cameron Smith quits weeks before Origin opener

Australian footy legend Cameron Smith has retired from all representative rugby league

In breaking news, there are reports that Queensland and Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith is set to announce his rep retirement this afternoon.

The physical and mental toll of Origin, as well as a desire to spend more time with his family were behind his decision, while Smith said he hoped it would extend his NRL career with the Storm.

"From a personal point of view I would have loved to have played on for a lot longer but unfortunately we don't live in a flawless world and those things don't happen", Smith said.

The call is likely to springboard Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough into contention for a Queensland debut in the June 6 series opener, while Jake Granville of the Cowboys could be another option.

Smith has made a record 42 Origin appearances, and has a record 26 Origin wins.

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"Today I'm announcing my retirement from representative football as of right now", he said in a statement. I started having some small thoughts about finishing up my representative career past year.

"Looking back on it now I don't think that it is fair on myself, I don't think it's fair on my family and also my teammates back here at Melbourne Storm".

Smith played 56 games for Australia and has won a Tri-Nations series, five Four Nations tournaments and three World Cups.

Smith thanked his Storm coach Craig Bellamy for his support during his representative career, as well as his former Maroons mentors Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett.

His decision comes on the heels of similar retirements by fellow greats Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston late a year ago.

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"Not only did they make me a better footballer and a better captain but a better person overall as well", he said.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has lauded Smith's performance both on and off the field.

But he paid tribute to Smith, who he described as an outstanding "ambassador" and "student" in rugby league.

Smith said he'd started thinking about it previous year, when he was unable to back up and play for the Storm the weekend after each Origin game as he'd done in the past. "Respect, humility, all those things that you like to see in people, in everyday people, he shows that in every day of his life, the way he conducts himself as member of the team and more importantly a leader of the team whether it be here at the Storm, for the Maroons or Australia, he's always been exempt in that area".

"I just didn't get the same vibe that I've had over the last couple of years with him, with his enthusiasm and drive", Walters said.

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