Smith to weigh up future after World Cup

Australian rugby league captain Cameron Smith says he will start thinking about when it might be time to call it quits after the World Cup.

Smith won a second Dally M Medal this season and was unlucky to miss out on best on ground honours in a winning NRL grand final with Melbourne Storm.

Despite passing the record-breaking 356th NRL game milestone in September, the 34-year-old will lead the Kangaroos into this year’s home World Cup in arguably career-best form.

He played his 50th Test for Australia in May and his 40th Origin for Queensland four weeks later.

But a testimonial game, to be played at Suncorp Stadium on February 23 in Smith’s and North Queensland champion Johnathan Thurston’s honour, has him pondering his future.

The pair will play for their clubs Storm and North Queensland in a grand final rematch in a game designed as a ‘thank-you’ to them, and a chance for the players to also thank their fans.

Both Smith and Thurston are off-contract at the end of the 2018 season.

“JT and I grew up in this area, we’ve had some great memories here (at Suncorp Stadium) and it’s about celebrating what we’ve achieved and giving back,” Smith said.

Thurston has already announced the ensuing season will be his last, leaving Smith to admit it was only natural to be contemplating retirement himself.

Smith has shown interest in eclipsing the 400-game mark, while Wally Lewis is among experienced pundits backing him to play well beyond 2018. Smith currently sits on 358 games and would need to play on in 2019 to reach the magical 400 mark.

“I’ve just been celebrating a premiership over the last week, I haven’t really thought too much about (retirement),” Smith said.

“I’ve got 12 months to run on my contract in Melbourne, so I’ll get the World Cup out of the way and I’ll have a clearer indication.”

Meanwhile, Thurston says he is recovering ahead of schedule from shoulder surgery and will line-up for the Cowboys in the preseason exhibition.

“JT is going to be fit,” Smith confirmed.

“He’ll be out here up to his scheming best.”

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