League: No end in sight for Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith. Photo / Getty Images
Cameron Smith. Photo / Getty Images

Cameron Smith said he wanted to continue his Australian career for as long as he's able as he prepares to become one of the Kangaroos most-capped players.

Saturday's Test against New Zealand in Perth will be Smith's 45th Test, drawing level with Graeme Langlands as the fourth most-capped Australian of all time.

Assuming the Kangaroos make the Four Nations final and Smith plays every game of the tournament, he will have accumulated 50 caps, putting him behind only Mal Meninga on the all-time tally.

Australia will welcome three more debutants in Perth, but if Smith has his way he'll keep going for a while.

"In a way, we probably needed a couple of changes," he said. "Not necessarily down the avenue of injecting youth, I'm a firm believer that it doesn't matter what your age is or how many games you've played or how many years you've been involved in the game.

"If you're the best player for the team at that time then you should be playing and I think Mal is of the same view."

With Australian and Queensland jerseys, a ridiculous amount of Origin series victories, scores of individual awards and three grand final victories to his credit, Smith might be the most decorated rugby league player in ­Australian history.

But he said wearing the green and gold remained a special thrill, no matter how many times he's represented his country.

"For myself, I think it's a privilege just to wear the Australian jersey and for any guy playing rugby league, to represent their home nation," Smith said.

"I just want to try to keep playing well as long as I can and if I'm doing that and still contributing to the team the way the coaches want me to, I'll keep putting my hand up."

Smith has been a fixture in the team since making his debut in 2006, taking over as captain from Darren ­Lockyer in 2011.

Saturday's match against New Zealand will mark almost a decade since his debut as captain, a record-breaking 58-0 win over the Kiwis in Wellington.

"It doesn't seem like that long ago, 2007, it was a one-off Test match in Wellington," he said. "Darren (Lockyer) was injured and I got the opportunity to captain the side.

"A few games have passed since then and a few less hairs on the head but, for me, it's no less exciting now than what it was back then.

"I'm really enjoying being part of the Kangaroos team, we've had a new sprinkling of youth injected into our squad, which is great for our team and great for the ­younger guys in our squad, it brings a new sort of energy to our program."

In a measure of Smith's dominance, longevity and durability, he has never missed an end-of-season tournament since his debut during the 2006 Tri Nations.

In fact, only two players - Robbie Farah and Shaun Berrigan - have played dummy half for Australia while Smith has been on the scene.

Roosters rake Jake Friend has been selected as the back-up hooker to Smith for this year's Four Nations, but if past results are anything to go by he faces a difficult battle even to get a game against Scotland.

Smith is under contract with the Storm until the end of 2018 and is already the most-capped player in State of Origin history with 39 appearances for the Maroons.

- news.com.au

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