Australian league great Smith honoured

Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who has also captained Australia and Queensland, has been appointed a member of the Order of Australia.

CAMERON SMITH of the Storm passes the ball during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia.
CAMERON SMITH of the Storm passes the ball during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Cameron Smith has broken just about every rugby league record possible and has added another accolade after being appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Playing his 18th NRL season, the Melbourne Storm captain this year became the first player to reach 400 games and has been recognised for his contribution to rugby league as part of the Queen's Birthday honours.

Another of the game's greats, former North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston, who retired at the end of the 2018 season, has also been appointed an AM.

Widely considered one of the rugby league's best ever players, Smith stepped down from representative duties last year after 56 Tests for Australia and 42 State of Origin matches for Queensland.

He had captained both teams since 2012.

The 35-year-old father of three said he owed much to the support of his Storm club, who he debuted with back in 2002.

"I am very humbled to receive such a prestigious honour," Smith said.

"It's been a wonderful privilege to play for Australia, Queensland and Melbourne Storm for so many years and to be part of such a great team sport as rugby league.

"You don't get to enjoy the success I've had without being surrounded by great players, coaches and training staff and I owe them so much."

Melbourne Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy said Smith's contribution went beyond his on-field achievements.

"Cameron's contribution to, and influence on, the sport of rugby league extends further than the statistics," Donaghy said.

"Cameron's character and leadership qualities are exemplified by his commitment to the Melbourne Storm as a one-club player and his contribution to growing the game in Victoria will long be remembered.

"He has contributed countless hours at community events and appearances at junior rugby league clubs to inspire the next generation of rugby league players in a state without historical connections to the game."

Other athletes who made Queen's birthday honours list include former Wallabies captains Stephen Moore and Tony Shaw, sailor Matthew Allen, former Olympic champion skier Alisa Camplin-Warner, basketballer Luc Longley, and baseballer David Nilsson, who were all appointed members of the Order of Australia.

Retired tennis legend Frank Sedgmen, who won 22 grand slam titles, was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia.