They called him “The Accountant”.
But Cameron Smith – the little Queenslander who could – looks set to be remembered as “The Greatest”.
Maroons captain Smith will run out for a record 37th State of Origin game in Wednesday night’s series opener in Sydney.
It is a remarkable achievement.
Especially for a player never known for his physical presence, earning him the cheeky moniker.
Yet Maroons great Billy Slater reckons the pint sized Smith’s final Origin tally may never be eclipsed, saying the diminutive skipper is showing no sign of slowing down.
“It’s a tremendous achievement and the scary thing is that he is not done yet,” Slater said of Smith who has hinted at playing rep footy until 2019.
“He is playing some of the best footy he has ever played.”
Maroons hooker Smith has been an easy target in Origin camp due to his unassuming size.
At a recent Queensland team announcement players walked out to their “nominated” song.
In one of the great stitch-ups, Smith was introduced on stage to a packed function room to the Village People’s “Macho Man”, much to many sniggers mostly from the Queensland captain himself.
But Slater says Smith’s Origin legacy will be no joke.
Especially with Smith not ruling out playing rep footy for another three years.
“I think it is fitting that he holds the record,” Slater said.
“We have had some greats play Origin but he (Smith) is just so durable, he rarely misses a game.
“Looking back I think it is going to be hard to pinpoint why he has been so good.
“I think the best way I can describe it is that he has so much time with the ball in his hands.
“He just makes players around hm more confident and better.”
Smith was humbled by the fact he was overtaking his idol Darren Lockyer’s 36-game record.
Not that he would truly contemplate his feat until after Origin I at ANZ Stadium.
“There’s always nerves no matter how many you play,” he said.
“It’s obviously something very special.
“But until the game is done I will just worry about what I need to do for the team.”