GREG Inglis and Gareth Widdop believe rugby league icon Cameron Smith can still have an effect on the other side of the world, even after he retired.
The hooker hung up his boots after 19 years at the top, with five NRL titles at Melbourne – two of which were stripped for breaching salary cap rules, 11 State of Origin titles and two World Cups.
But his influence will be felt as the Warrington pair both played alongside him.
Centre Inglis, who also lined up alongside the 37-year-old for Queensland and Australia, said: “Over almost 20 years, he’s missed fewer than 20 games – that shows the type of person he is and the resilience he showed.
“Melbourne’s his only club and for him to retire on his terms seems fitting.
“As a player, he was a guy you knew would always turn up. He might have been upset with himself at putting in an eight out of 10 game, when most people would’ve thought it was outstanding.
“Cam Smith always strived to be the best in his position, to get the nest out of himself and to be the leader he was for so long.
“I wish nothing but the very best for him. His career was remarkable.”
England star Widdop, who lined up alongside Smith on his debut in 2010, added: “Cameron will leave a huge impact on the game of rugby league.
“I was very fortunate to play alongside him and win some trophies and I certainly learned a lot from him as a person to help me get where I am now.
“He’ll go down as one of the greatest players ever to play the game.”
Thomas Burgess will be the first English player to see action as South Sydney face the Storm tomorrow.
But national boss Shaun Wane will have his eye on plenty of others, including the four who will take to the field for Canberra on Sunday.
Lancashire-born Herbie Farnworth has made Brisbane’s side to face Parramatta on Friday while possible Wales man Bradman Best will line up for Newcastle against Canterbury.
And half-back Widdop, who came through at Melbourne after emigrating to Australia as a 16-year-old, believes the Poms can thrive Down Under, particularly Canberra’s George Williams.
The 31-year-old continued: “George had a good year last year and will only improve. His biggest challenge will be doing it again this year but I’m sure he will.
“I’m not surprised at how well he went last year. I’ll keep a good eye on it but whether I watch it depends on whether my grandma gets Sky or not!”
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