Bellamy opens door for Smith to play on beyond 2020
CRAIG Bellamy has been looking for a change in Cameron Smith after the Melbourne champion's 400th NRL game, but it hasn't come.
The 36-year-old, his coach says, is as hungry as ever and still looking to improve.
The former Queensland and Australian captain was at his best in Brisbane on Friday night, mixing pinpoint kicks with clever runs out of dummy-half, and even scoring a rare try.
His efforts helped the Storm to a 40-4 win over the Broncos - Melbourne's ninth straight against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium and 17th from the sides' past 19 meetings.
"Yeah I can (believe it), I see it every week and he's still competitive at training and still wants to get better," Bellamy said of the evergreen Storm leader's form.
"I know that sounds a bit stupid to all of us, but he still puts the work in.
"We sit back and think 'how can he get better?' But he's putting the work in."
Smith became the first man to 400 NRL games last month, and Bellamy said Friday's clash was his 300th as captain of the Storm.
"We were all looking forward to his 400th game and since then I was thinking was there going to be a bit of a drop-off in his interest or intensity? But I haven't seen that at all. He's still got that hunger even though he's got that record.
"He's a remarkable player, person ... there's got to be a time when his interest starts waning, but I haven't seen that at the moment."
Smith has indicated his intention to play on in 2020 and Bellamy believes is easily within reach.
"He's capable of playing this game for a long period of time," he said.
"I'm pretty much sure he's going to play on next year."
MATTY JOHNS PODCAST - Matty sits down with Melbourne legend Cameron Smith to discuss his astonishing rugby league career, including a few untold stories