Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters has honoured NRL legend Cameron Smith following his announcement that we will be retiring from the State of Origin series, effective immediately.
Smith holds the title for the most appearances in Origin history with 42 games played for Queensland and that number will not climb as he has decided to step away prior to the 2018 State of Origin Series.
"After the year that Cameron had last year, winning the Origin series, winning the NRL premiership with the Storm and then winning the World Cup...that's a very big year," Walters told qrl.com.au.
"While I expected Cameron to play on this year, I'm not shocked as such. Origin is very taxing, there's a lot of pressure and everyone has got to be fully committed or it doesn't work.
"He's decided what's best for him is not to play on this year and we totally understand and respect that as well."
Walters mentioned that he and others will be reflecting on Smith's remarkable representative career and will know what qualities he will be missing on the Maroons team first hand as the captain steps away.
"He's met all of those challenges quite brilliantly as a player and leader," Walters added.
"In my two years as Head Coach, he's been invaluable from every angle, from leadership and stability to game plans. He's been as good as anyone that's been involved."
Selectors will now be discussing who will take the place of Smith as captain for the side and who will bring as much of the intangible leadership skills that Smith possesses to the table.
Smith said he feels comfortable stepping away from this aspect of his career and is looking to shift his focus solely to his Melbourne club.
"I just feel that the time is right after 15 years of representative footy," Smith told qrl.com.au.
"Such a long period at that level does take its toll and this decision will allow me to spend
more time with my family and will help me focus on the final stages of my club football with Melbourne.
"I've cherished every opportunity I've been fortunate enough to get in Queensland and Australian colours.
"As a kid growing up in Queensland, it was always a dream of mine to play for the Maroons."