Melbourne - Australia
and Queensland skipper Cameron Smith called time on his representative
career on Tuesday just weeks away from the State of Origin series opener.
The 34-year-old rugby league great, who will continue playing for his
club Melbourne Storm, is the most capped player in the history of the
annual interstate series with a remarkable 42 appearances.
He also played 56 Tests for the Kangaroos and captained the team to World Cup titles in 2013 and 2017.
"Today I'm announcing my retirement from representative football as of right now," he said in a statement.
"It's been a fairly lengthy process for me to come to this decision. I
started having some small thoughts about finishing up my representative
career last year.
"Right now, this year is the right time to finish up."
It means Queensland will have to appoint a new captain and hooker for
the Origin series opener against New South Wales on June 6.
His decision comes on the heels of similar retirements by fellow greats Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston late last year.
Greg Inglis is widely seen as the most likely option to replace Smith
as Queensland captain, with Inglis and NSW skipper Boyd Cordner in the
frame to lead the national team.