Attacks won't force NRL retirement: Smith
Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith says constant criticism - both personal and of his playing style - won't force him out of the NRL.
The Storm hooker has recently been under attack for his tackling technique, his relationship with referees and an NRL gift to his wife Barbara as part of his record 400-game celebrations.
With one year remaining on his current deal, the 36-year-old says such criticism won't drive him into retirement before he is ready.
"It's expected this time of year, for all the articles to start coming out from up north," Smith said.
"But in no way will that ever force me into retirement, not at all.
"I can't control what's said about my team, what's said about myself - it's unfortunate those things happen and I would have thought they'd spend more time celebrating the game and the success this club's had for such a long time and talking the game up - it's finals time.
"It's unfortunate but it won''t be forcing me into retirement at all."
He said he wasn't fazed by condemnation of the competition leaders' tackling and wrestling tactics as he felt the club was only answerable to the NRL, who had no issue with their play.
Smith came under fire when the NRL presented Barbara with a $15,000 ring to celebrate her husband's 400th game in July.
The former Kangaroos and Queensland captain said while he could wear attacks on himself, he was angered when his family was included.
'When they try and drag family into it I think that's pretty low journalism," he said.
"At no point should any athlete's family be brought into media or trying to drive agendas.
"I'm used to copping a bit of criticism - unfortunately it's part of our job - whether that's right or wrong, and all I can control is what I do on the weekend and at training."
Smith said the youth in the current Storm crop had "rejuvenated" him, while he continued to reap the rewards of his shock decision last year to drop representative football.
'It's helped me re-energise, having younger guys with new energy, new enthusiasm and a slightly different outlook on the game," Smith said.
"Physically I feel great - stepping away from representative football has been the best thing for me to help manage a full season.
"I feel better now than what I did in the last couple of years of my rep career when I was 33 and 34.
"I'd never change what I did with my rep career but it's an extra commitment physically and mentally so not having to play those extra games and being around my younger teammates, that's all combined to help me feel the way I'm feeling."
© AAP 2019