Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith has re-signed with the club on a two-year extension.
The 35-year old announced his new contract on Thursday during a press conference at AAMI Park, tying him to the Storm until the end of the 2020 season
“We had some talented young guys coming off contract with the club looking to attain or extend their contract,” he said.
“I recognised that was important and I was wary of that – there is no use going in and signing a contract and having no quality players around me.
“Cameron Munster is the perfect example – I spoke with our CEO Dave (Donaghy) and said to him ‘that is of higher importance, make sure that gets sorted first.'”
Smith is on track to reach the 400-game mark having avoided injuries for the majority of his career ahead of his 18th season.
“No one has ever played 400 games in our code and I don’t think anyone would have imagined the first person to do it – if it happens – would be from a Melbourne rugby league team.
“I still love competing and I haven’t been told by any of the coaches that my performance is diminishing in any capacity – that would be a sure sign for me to start thinking about finishing up.
“One thing I am always very conscious of is that I am able to fulfil my role.
“I’ve had a number of conversations with teammates who have finished up and their advice was always ‘play as long as you can’ so I have taken their advice.
“I have been very lucky with injuries to allow me to stay on the paddock and I’m hoping that continues throughout this year and the next.”
The veteran hooker remains as determined as ever to deliver Melbourne its fourth premiership.
“I have been fortunate enough to experience the feeling of winning premierships and I would like to experience that again,” he said.
“I have never changed my approach to my trade or my job – I try to be better every day. There is always something to improve on.
“I’m really excited about the young players at our club at the moment, they have a lot of talent, but the best thing is they have a lot to learn as well so I see a lot of improvement.
“It is promising for our club into the next two years and the next five years.
“I’m really thankful the club believes I can see the next two years out.
“I love the club, I love playing the game and I love my teammates so it’s pretty easy to come to work every day.”