Cameron Smith is trying to keep everyone guessing about what his future holds but inspector Paul Vautin was determined to crack the case.

The Melbourne skipper performed a lap of honour after being subbed off with a handful of minutes remaining in the Storm's 30-10 win over Canberra in Friday night's preliminary final, leading commentators and fans to suggest this season will be his last in the NRL.

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"That's almost an indicator, 'I am retiring'," Fox League's Andrew Voss said. "I haven't seen too many players go on the half lap of honour … that is quite a moment right there."

Co-commentator Greg Alexander said: "You can put your money on this is his last game at Suncorp Stadium."

Smith is yet to publicly announce whether he will retire at season's end or play on in 2021, keeping footy fans on edge as they await a decision. But post-match the 37-year-old brought his teammates into a huddle and was then chaired off through a guard of honour, suggesting he's almost certain to call it quits after the grand final.

Interviewing Smith on Friday, Channel 9 commentator Vautin tried to pull off a classic stitch-up. Before going live to air, Vautin told Smith: "I'm not going to ask you about retiring, so don't worry about it mate."

But when the cameras started rolling, "Fatty" pounced.

"Cameron, are you retiring after this game?" he asked Smith as the NRL veteran burst out laughing.

Despite all the scenes at Suncorp pointing to a grand final farewell against the winner of tonight's second preliminary final between Penrith and Souths, Smith and Storm coach Craig Bellamy continued to play dumb.

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"I just thought it would be a nice photo if he does decide in January to pull the pin, or whenever," Bellamy said to laughter from the media when asked about Smith being chaired off by his teammates.

"That's what he did in Origin, poor old Kevvie (Walters) had a heart attack. I just thought it was the right thing to do if it was his last game at Suncorp, he's had a lot of wonderful memories here."

Asked point blank if it was his last game at Suncorp, Smith said: "I can't tell you. I don't know, I don't know. All I'm worried about this year is trying to play well and just enjoy watching these young fellas grow as footballers and grow as men.

"I've been very fortunate in my career to be involved in some really big games for the Storm and lucky enough to win some premierships along the way. There's a lot of guys just starting out there career who haven't had that opportunity yet and I'm just enjoying their success at the moment and sharing their journey."

Smith's former teammate, ex-Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk, believes everyone at Melbourne has known for a while that Smith will retire, but have been keeping it a secret.

"I think Cameron (has known) that he's going to be retiring for a long period of time," Cronk told Fox League.

"I think he's told the team, I think everyone at the Melbourne Storm knows and they're keeping it in-house and he's going to deal with it how he wants to.

"Because how he spoke before the game, really inspired that start to the match and I know how the Melbourne Storm operate, they don't like things leaking out of their department.

"So I would dare say that Cameron Smith is retiring and they're keeping it in-house."

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Smith loses it over Channel 9 stitch-up


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