Storm icon Cameron Smith had constant painkilling injections in his shoulder during the final two months of a triumphant NRL season, a new report has revealed.
Melbourne won the grand final over Penrith on Sunday, ending a painful and courageous run for their veteran captain.
Smith injured the AC joint in his left shoulder during a round 12 win over Newcastle and missed three games, yet the joint never properly healed, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. It was too painful for him to swing a golf club but he still managed to lead his team to a premiership, while the club kept the problem a secret.
“He had to get needled every game to play out the season,” Storm football manager Frank Ponissi told the Herald.
“He even had to get needled at times so he could train. The injury was more annoying than anything, but it never really had the chance to heal. He kept whacking it in games and it lingered throughout the rest of the season. He’s been carrying it for a while.”
The revelation will only add to Smith’s legend. The champion hooker was one of Melbourne’s best as they defeated the Panthers 26-20, which gave Smith his third premiership; and a fifth grand final win, taking into account the Storm’s stripped titles from 2007 and 2009.
Smith, 37, refused to confirm his future plans post-match. It has been widely tipped that he will retire, having played an unprecedented 430 games, but he decision has not been locked in due to his ongoing excellent form.