Sport: 'Why do people keep knocking him down?' NRL legend holds fears for Cameron Smith as retirement rumours swirl after star was trolled over his wife and THAT dodgy tackle - - PressFrom - Australia
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Sport 'Why do people keep knocking him down?' NRL legend holds fears for Cameron Smith as retirement rumours swirl after star was trolled over his wife and THAT dodgy tackle

11:25  16 october  2019
11:25  16 october  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Cameron Smith standing posing for the camera: NRL legend Mal Meninga has revealed his fears surrounding Cameron Smith (pictured with his wife Barbara)  as retirement rumours swirl© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited NRL legend Mal Meninga has revealed his fears surrounding Cameron Smith (pictured with his wife Barbara)  as retirement rumours swirl NRL legend Mal Meninga has revealed his fears for Cameron Smith as retirement rumours swirl.

The 36-year-old Melbourne Storm star has been the subject of increased scrutiny in 2019, prompting coach Craig Bellamy to warn the criticism could have worn him down last month.

And Meninga, who is a close confidant of Smith through their time as captain and coach of Queensland and the Kangaroos, said he could understand if he left the NRL.

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a person and text: Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith (pictured with wife Barbara)  has been the subject of increased scrutiny in 2019© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith (pictured with wife Barbara)  has been the subject of increased scrutiny in 2019 a rugby player on a field: Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith complained to a referee after he was penalised for pulling the ears of Canberra Raiders player Bailey Simonsson (pictured)© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith complained to a referee after he was penalised for pulling the ears of Canberra Raiders player Bailey Simonsson (pictured)

The star was shrouded controversy in July when the NRL quietly gifted Smith's wife Barbara a diamond ring at a dinner celebrating his milestone 400th game for the Melbourne Storm. The ring was estimated to be worth $15,000.

Smith's style of play has also been heavily scrutinised, and he was forced to deny claims he'd pulled on Canberra winger Bailey Simmonsen's ears in a tackle in August.

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'I would be thinking the same thing if I was in his shoes,' Meninga told AAP.

'I think he's got the ability to play another year and I think Melbourne need him to play another year from a transition point of view.

'But I could understand if he wants to quit too because of all the negativity.

'(If I'm him) I'm thinking 'I am sick of this. What have I done wrong? I've been a great ambassador for rugby league. I've been a great player, I do everything right.

'I've been up there for long periods of time and people want to keep knocking me down. Why?'

a football player on a field: Smith and his Storm teammates have been accused of using dirty tactics in tackles including wrestling opponents to slow the play-the-ball down© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Smith and his Storm teammates have been accused of using dirty tactics in tackles including wrestling opponents to slow the play-the-ball down

Smith is yet to confirm if he will return for a 19th season next year, with Melbourne teammates still in the dark on whether he will play on.

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But his remarks may have had more to do with Storm duo Cameron Smith and Billy Slater than the The 22-year-old signed a deal with the Queensland club worth a reported million over four years Those rumours have been shut down after the centre and his dad both confirmed Bird’s intention

Re-signed on a new deal at the start of last season, Smith's contract for 2020 is in the form of an option in his favour - meaning he can choose whether or not to activate it.

Widely regarded as one the finest players ever to lace up a boot and an Immortal-in-waiting, Smith passed the 400-game milestone this year and will also finish his career as the most capped State of Origin player.

Meninga believed the criticism was nothing new for Smith, but said it had reached new levels in 2019.

Cameron Smith et al. posing for the camera: Cameron Smith and his wife Barbara (pictured) were celebrating his 400th game at a private dinner when she was handed the ring by the NRL© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Cameron Smith and his wife Barbara (pictured) were celebrating his 400th game at a private dinner when she was handed the ring by the NRL

'It's Australian tall poppy syndrome,' Meninga said of the criticism Smith cops.

'We build them up and because he has been up there for so long and been so successful someone feels it's their job to bring them down.

'I don't understand why athletes like Cameron Smith don't get lauded and acknowledged by everyone. It's damn hard to stay at the top.

'And he has done that over 17 years and people want to knock him down. I think it's stupid. Very un-Australian.'

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