Former Maroons crying out for Smith return
It was only a matter of weeks ago that Cameron Smith ruled out making a State of Origin return for Queensland but that hasn't stopped old greats telling Kevin Walters to send out an SOS. SUBSCRIBE NOW.
Almost two decades after Allan Langer sensationally returned from England to win the 2001 series, ex-Queensland players believe the time has come for Smith to rescue the Maroons in Origin III on July 10.
Smith was at Perth's Optus Stadium as a spectator and the 42-game Queensland icon would have been deeply disturbed by the 38-6 thrashing that leaves the Maroons on the brink of a second consecutive series defeat.
Smith last month doused speculation he was set to come out of representative retirement, but former Maroons Scott Sattler, Gary Belcher and Willie Carne have called for Walters to pick Origin's most-capped player for their death-or-glory showdown at ANZ Stadium.
"We need to bring back Cam Smith," said ex-Maroons lock Sattler.
"I just feel that Queensland need a story, they need an Allan Langer-style fairytale story.
"Queensland historically don't like playing at ANZ Stadium and how do they create more than 16 or 20 points to beat NSW?
"Cameron Smith is still the best Queensland player running around the NRL.
"It would be a sledgehammer effect for the opposition. Straight away the Blues are up against arguably the most influential player rugby league has ever seen.
"Players like him make others around him better. Cam will get more out of the current squad around him. Look at the effect James Maloney had on the NSW side by coming back because he is a big-game player.
"His legacy won't be tarnished in any way. He is already a future Immortal.
"Cam Smith is a gunslinger. He will never do anything in half measures. He won't be worried about his reputation, he would run out in Origin III thinking I am one of the reasons why we can win this game.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Cameron Smith to come back to win the series for Queensland."
Ex-Maroons flyer Carne said Smith could play in a similar role that Cooper Cronk played for the Roosters during the 2018 Grand Final.
"I wouldn't get rid of Ben Hunt for him, so that's an option," Carne said.
"I wouldn't rule (a comeback) out. Everyone knows what Cam can offer, so why not?
"I think Kevvie and Cam will need to have a conversation this week about it."
Maroons fullback great Belcher added: "I doubt it will happen, but I would be all for picking him."
It comes after new skipper Daly Cherry-Evans, on the eve of Origin I last month, said he would have no issue with Smith returning to the Maroons fold.
"I guess it's a decision for Cam but I will always appreciate what he did for me and what he taught me as a leader," Cherry-Evans said.
"There's no doubt he could still mix it at this level. He is a champion of the game."
Other former Origin greats dismissed the idea of a Smith comeback but added his inclusion would be a huge boost.
"I guess you'd have to ask Kevvie whether he wants him on board," said Maroons legend Wally Lewis.
"The one thing that's blatantly obvious is that Game Three won't be easy.
"(NSW) will be carrying a fair bit of confidence into this game."