Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

ONE of the most chal­leng­ing weeks of Cameron Smith’s ca­reer has led Queens­land to rally around their cap­tain ahead of to­mor­row night’s State of Ori­gin de­cider in Bris­bane.

Reel­ing from Alex McKin­non’s scathing crit­i­cism in the Nine Net­work’s

Min­utes pro­gram, Smith is also be­lieved to be frus­trated he had not been given a right of re­ply.

Ex- New­cas­tle for­ward McKin­non was up­set over on- field com­ments Mel­bourne’s Smith made fol­low­ing the tackle that left him paral­ysed in March last year.

McKin­non told the pro­gram he be­lieved Smith had im­plied that the Knights for­ward had been some­what to blame for the spinal in­jury he suf­fered in a three- man tackle. Smith’s man­age- ment con­firmed yes­ter­day that nei­ther the skip­per nor his NRL club Mel­bourne were asked to ap­pear on the hour- long 60 Min­utes fea­ture.

McKin­non’s claims capped an emo­tional week for Smith.

He had paid his re­spects at Queens­land Cup player James Ackerman’s fu­neral on the Sun­shine Coast last Wed­nes­day. Two days later he joined the trib­utes for late Ade­laide Crows coach Phil Walsh, an old friend of Smith’s NRL club Mel­bourne.

Now it is Smith look­ing for sup­port in the days ahead of an Ori­gin de­cider.

Ma­roons back­rower Corey Parker ad­mit­ted his skip­per had been hit hard by McKin­non’s al­le­ga­tions.

TOWNSVILLE teenager Bren­ton Fos­ter is putting in­jury con­cerns be­hind him as he counts down to next week’s World Youth Cham­pi­onships for track and field in Colom­bia. The 17year- old is car­ry­ing an an­kle prob­lem af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a quadri­ceps tear in May but is con­fi­dent of im­prov­ing on his per­sonal best on the in­ter­na­tional stage. REPORT: page 35


Cameron Smith

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