NRL players need to wise up: Smith

A disappointed Cameron Smith has urged players to be more responsible for their actions after news of another off-field incident took the shine off his All Stars experience.

Smith admitted the good work done in the lead-up to Saturday night’s All Stars clash would be overshadowed by a report that Indigenous star Wade Graham had been fined by police.

Graham is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons after it emerged that the Sharks backrower was issued with an infringement notice and fine for offensive language in Manly last weekend.

World All Stars captain Smith had already been left unimpressed by off-field behaviour after this week being asked to justify Queensland coach Kevin Walters’ call to slap 12 month State of Origin bans on eight players after they broke an Emerging Maroons camp curfew recently.

Maroons skipper Smith believed the school appearances and community visits in the lead-up to the World All Stars’ 12-8 win over the Indigenous team at Suncorp Stadium had rammed home a good message.

But Smith admitted coverage of Graham’s misdemeanour could not have been more badly timed.

“That dominates headlines because you guys put it in there,” he said.

“We just came off a week of a lot of wonderful things players have done.

“There were school visits, doing work in the community, various events around the city, a few of our guys visited a hospital on their day off.

“Unfortunately that doesn’t make the news.”

Graham loomed as the feel good story of the All Stars weekend after revealing he had held off his Indigenous selection last year to give him time to research his heritage.

A year older and wiser, Graham said in the game’s lead-up that working with NRL welfare manager Dean Widders to unveil his background had not only been an eye opener for himself but also his extended family.

Smith hoped the message was finally sinking in for players after Graham’s recent gaffe.

“This is the minority, there’s only a few guys that let the entire playing group down,” Smith said.

“There are 400 players in the NRL but there are only a few that let the game down each year.

“I think everyone can be a bit smarter and more responsible.”

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