NRL journalist Paul Crawley has suggested Melbourne captain Cameron Smith isn't the greatest player in the game's history, claiming there to be a recency bias around the champion hooker.
Smith is eyeing his fifth Grand Final victory this Sunday in what will be his 430th match for the Storm, adding to 11 Origin series and two World Cups across his decorated career.
While the numbers stack up, Crawley believes Smith doesn't rank above some of the game's greatest ever.
“It’s nothing against Cameron Smith personally,” Crawley told NRL360 on Fox League.
“But I actually think it’s a bit of an insult to 112 years of rugby league history [in Australia] that we constantly say that he’s the best.
“I can remember when Wally Lewis retired, he was the greatest of any generation I’d seen. “Then along comes Andrew Johns, JT, Bobby Fulton, and the great St George days where they were amateurs – Langlands, Raper, Gasnier, Artie Beetson, Clive Churchill, and Dally Messenger.
“Every generation has its best, Cameron Smith is the best of his time. But I don’t think anyone can categorically say that he’s the best of all time.”
In comparison with Andrew Johns, Crawley said that Smith isn't as exciting to watch.
“I’ll say another thing too, he doesn’t put me on the edge of the seat when I play,” he said.
“When you watched Joey, it was exhilarating.
“In 2005 when he came back and won NSW that Origin series, what he did on the field it was like he was a magician.
“It was like watching a beautiful painting, rugby league is not just about how long you’ve played or what your career record says.”
Smith games and points record are seen as unreachable feats as the Melbourne skipper looks likely to announce his retirement following Sunday's result.