Cameron Smith says he is preparing to put the Alex McKinnon saga to bed once and for all.
Smith has confirmed he will meet face to face with McKinnon in the coming days to reconcile their differences.
McKinnon levelled heavy criticism at Smith during a 60 Minutes interview for his on-field actions in the aftermath of a tackle that left the Newcastle forward in a wheelchair.
McKinnon also accused Smith of failing to make contact in the 15 months since.
The Melbourne, Queensland and Australian captain was not given a right of reply on the program and has refused to comment publicly on the saga.
He has said he would mend fences with McKinnon privately and on Wednesday revealed he hoped to meet with him in the coming days.
Smith told Fox Sports’ Sterlo program he thinks the process is about to begin.
“Clearly, I’d like to speak to Alex and I believe he’d like to speak to me as well.
“I think it’s best for both he and I that we get it done very soon.”
The McKinnon interview aired just three days before last week’s State of Origin decider and Smith went into the game under a mountain of scrutiny.
He responded emphatically, leading his team to a record 52-6 win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium to seal the series.
Maroons and Brisbane back-rower Corey Parker described Smith’s leadership in the lead-up as exemplary under enormous pressure.
“He made sure that his players were first and he did that by way of just grabbing the guys, letting us know that he was okay first and foremost and for us to concentrate on our jobs and make sure we prepared the best way we could,” Parker said.
“I’ve got no doubt there would have been some influences or external pressure on him off the back of that story.
Parker said the way Smith handled himself shows the strength of his character.
“To go out there and put on a performance like that to regain the shield shows the champion he is.”