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Cameron Smith makes shock retirement from representative NRL

Cameron Smith makes shock retirement from representative NRL

Queensland captain Cameron Smith is set to throw Origin preparations into chaos, with the 34-year-old to announce his immediate retirement from representative football this afternoon.

Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough appears Smith's likely replacement at hooker while the kicking stocks look a little bare, perhaps forcing Cameron Munster or Josh McGuire to do the goal kicking for the Maroons.

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

Lockyer himself fostered Queensland's Origin dominance, skippering six series victories of his own for the Maroons, and played alongside Smith for Queensland and Australia between 2003 and 2011.

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

The Melbourne Storm captain is widely lauded as the best no.9 to have played the game and his records reflects this.

"In my two years as Head Coach, he's been invaluable from every angle, from leadership and stability to game plans; he's been as good as anyone that's been involved".

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"I thought his performance in game three of past year was one of the best I have seen from anyone at that level and at age 34 that speaks volumes", said Walters.

As a stalwart of the Maroons, Smith oversaw the greatest period of dominance ever seen in the series, with Queensland winning 11 out of the past 12 series.

Darius Boyd, Billy Slater or Greg Inglis are the most likely candidates to take over the captaincy, however Boyd has battled form and fitness at Brisbane this season.

Smith's rep exit comes with all three Queensland-based NRL sides languishing in the bottom half of the ladder.

Smith also led Australia to wins in the 2013 and 2017 Rugby League World Cups, having played 56 Tests for the Kangaroos. Smith counts seven Origin man-of-the-match awards to his name, with only Wally Lewis (8) earning more across a career.

The Kangaroos and Queensland captain made the announcement in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon.

Regardless, Smith will depart the representative arena as one of the most prolific players at the game's highest level.