Paul Gallen believes Cameron Smith will not announce his retirement after the Grand Final in order to avoid the inevitable media and fan backlash.
The Smith retirement circus has travelled along all season and while his intentions are obviously to put the team first, the Storm skipper would be blasted if he hung up the boots officially on grand final day.
“I don’t think it would be a bad thing but it’s tall poppy syndrome when it comes to Cameron Smith and I think if he did do something like that, the media and a fair few people would get stuck into him [for] ‘trying to make it all about him’,” Gallen said on Wide World of Sports radio.
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“He’s already had that tag this week, he’s trying to make it all about him by not making the decision and letting everybody ask all the questions.
“I don’t think he will [make an announcement post-grand final]. A part of me really believes he doesn’t know what he wants to do.”
A super competitor it is hard not to read between the lines by suggesting Smith craves one more premiership title before retiring.
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That is why if he loses to the Panthers Smith has left the door open to go around again in 2021, but Gallen believes it will not come to that.
“I’m going to go the Melbourne Storm,” Gallen said of his tip for the decider.
“I just think that they will not beat themselves, they will not give the Panthers that many opportunities.
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“Penrith last week did not complete well at all [in beating South Sydney], I don’t know if they can turn that around in one week and I think that the Storm have got their defence back in order.
Only 10 points against last week [to beat Canberra], they will give the Panthers absolutely nothing and I think they’ll get the win.
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“The Clive Churchill will be Cameron Smith; the only thing he hasn’t done. And he’ll sail off into the sunset and retire but he won’t announce it until probably January.”
However Gallen believes Smith when he says that he doesn’t know what he is going to do and wouldn’t be surprised if he plays on if the Storm lose to the Panthers.
“I knew that [final] season I didn’t want to play anymore. I didn’t want to go to training, do the contract at training. I didn’t want to get hammered in the game anymore and that’s something I really loved right throughout my career,” Gallen said.
“Cameron Smith is still doing everything so great. I still think he’s probably the best player in the game; he’s definitely the best No.9 in the game.
“He could certainly go on if he wanted to but we don’t know what’s going on inside his head. We don’t know how his body feels.
“I genuinely don’t think he knows what he wants to do.”
Originally published as Gallen: Why Smith won’t retire after the Grand Final even if Storm win