Cameron Smith, Melbourne Storm captain, has agreed to stay with the NRL club for the next four seasons. Twenty-five year old Smith had been considering a move home to Queensland and the Gold Coast Titans for family reasons.
But on Wednesday he signed a contract extension which will see him remain in Melbourne until the end of 2012.
Storm chief executive Brian Waldron admitted Smith could have signed elsewhere for more money but opted to stay with the club which has played in the grand final for the past three seasons.
“I think there’s no better place to be playing footy right now than at the Storm,” Smith said.
Smith admitted the birth of his daughter Jada earlier this year had made him and wife Barbara seriously consider moving back to south-east Queensland where most of their family are to be closer to their support network.
“My first preference was to be in Melbourne … it was always going to be best for my career to stay here,” Smith said.
“With the birth of our first baby Jada early on in the year it was a big factor and we were probably a bit homesick.
“But we had a lot of support from everyone at the club and our ideas on that changed a little bit as the year went on.”
Smith’s signing adds to a star-studded list of players on long-term deals at the Storm.
The captain joins fellow Test and Origin stars Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk as having pledged their long-term futures to the Storm.