The Gold Coast Titans can’t seem to shake off rumours surrounding Cameron Smith.
Smith relocated with his family to Queensland after the Melbourne Storm secured the 2020 NRL premiership in October.
The 37-year-old’s contract with the Storm expired last year, and he is yet to publicly confirm his future plans in the sport.
But after four months of silence from the veteran hooker, a retirement announcement appears increasingly unlikely.
There has therefore been speculation about whether Smith is targeting a stint on the Gold Coast this year.
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On Tuesday afternoon, ABC commentator Zane Bojack tweeted: “Hearing very strong rumours that Cam Smith has signed with @GCTitans … however club denying this is the case. Very interested to see how this plays out.”
On Tuesday, Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell denied the club had made any communication with Smith.
“Retention and recruitment is something we don’t comment on, but we haven’t had any discussions (with Smith),” Mitchell said.
“The start of the season’s about three weeks away … It’s never been looked at as an option.
“Media speculation around Cam coming to the club has been a wonderful PR campaign for us.
“We’ve got media exposure you couldn’t buy so I have to be grateful for that. It’s really good intent.
“The population and the fanbase and the media are very excited about the future for us so that speculation is endearing. We’re very grateful.”
However, the Titans inadvertently dropped another “hint” during Wednesday’s media call in Waterford West.
This week, the NRL club unveiled a strengthened partnership with Marsden State High School, the very school Smith attended.
Coincidentally, the announcement was made in front of the “Cameron Smith Grandstand”, a detail which understandably amused rugby league pundits.
On Thursday, Queensland legend Mal Meninga defiantly claimed Smith would not finish his career with the Titans.
“We haven’t talked to Cam Smith, that is 100 per cent fact,” Meninga said.
“It really is that simple.
“There is all sorts of talk about him living on the Gold Coast and playing for us, but we haven’t spoken to him.
“I don’t have any idea what Cam is doing. I don’t know if he’s retiring. I’m in the dark like everyone else. But I know he won’t be at the Titans.”
On Tuesday morning, Smith was spotted kicking a footy around at Firth Park in Mudgeeraba as rumours of an 11th-hour deal with the Titans swelled in volume this week.
Smith has played 433 games for the Storm since making his NRL debut in 2002, featuring in 98 representative matches for Queensland and Australia.
He is the highest NRL points-scorer in history, surpassing Hazem El Masri’s record in April 2019.