Melbourne say they aren’t troubled by the possibility Friday’s NRL preliminary final against Canberra may be the last match for their skipper Cameron Smith.
The 37-year-old is still to declare his plans beyond this season and teammate Dale Finucane says it hasn’t been a talking point for the Storm.
If Smith is set on retirement and Melbourne lose, the Suncorp Stadium showdown it will be his 429th and final game after 18 years with the club.
Finucane, who has been out since August with a calf injury and is racing the clock to play, says the team aren’t putting any pressure on their captain to show his hand.
Finucane was surprised by the public criticism of one of the game’s greats and said the team felt Smith had earnt the right to make a call whenever he saw fit.
“It’s not something that’s discussed at all,” Finucane said.
“It’s like any player in any given year, whether they are moving clubs or retiring – it’s a personal decision for the individual and their family and it’s not really our business.”
“With the legacy that Cameron has and the amount of time he’s been involved in the game, he’s earned the right to take his time and do what he likes.”
Finucane said that if the game did turn out to be Smith’s last hurrah, the team would ensure a fitting send-off even if it didn’t involve any grand on-field gestures.
“Regardless of what happens, those sort of things will be done in our own way when the season finishes,” he said.
“If that’s the way he goes, I’m sure the boys would be happy to have those sorts of celebrations off the field.”