Cameron Smith has emphatically ruled out a dramatic State of Origin comeback for Queensland.
Maroons fans had been hoping their inspirational former captain would make an Allan Langer-style return in 2019 following the huge drain of experience from the squad over the past two years.
But the veteran hooker insists his time in the Origin arena is over and that he won’t be reversing his representative retirement after pulling the pin on the eve of last year’s series.
“My thoughts on Origin now haven’t changed from the day I decided to finish up,” Smith told News Corp on Thursday night.
“I was fortunate to have my time at that level. Now it’s time for the younger Queenslanders to take that jersey and represent our great state and do what they do best – create a bit of history for themselves and their own story.”
Smith had been adamant last month that he wouldn’t be returning at age 35 and the most-capped player in the game’s history confessed to being puzzled about heightened speculation in recent days that he was set for a comeback.
“I’m not too sure how this has got any momentum at all to be fair,” Smith said.
“It’s just come out of nowhere. I’ve got no intention at all to be available for Origin.
“I’m finished in that space of my career. I really enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately things come to an end. My time as an Origin player is now finished.”
Earlier on Thursday, Smith’s club coach Craig Bellamy said he wouldn’t stand in the way of the in-form Melbourne captain answering an SOS call from Queensland coach Kevin Walters.
In the past two years, the Maroons have also lost fellow all-time greats Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and last year’s captain Greg Inglis to retirement, plus Valentine Holmes to the NFL.
“If Cameron wanted to play Origin again, he’d do so with my blessing and I imagine the club would feel the same,” Bellamy said.
“With what he’s done for our club and the game in general if that’s what he wanted to do, I wouldn’t stand in his way.”
Alas, any fairytale return is off.