Rugby league is set to lose a true professional with Bulldogs veteran Darren Smith today announcing that he will retire at the end of the season.
Smith, 33, made his first grade debut for the Bulldogs against St George in 1990. Since then he has played 304 games at the top level, including 22 Origin games for Queensland and 11 Tests (5 Super League) and picked up two premierships during a four-year stint with the Brisbane Broncos (1995-98).
After such a distinguished career Smith says he is keen to end his playing days on a high note.
“I can still remember pulling the Bulldogs jersey on for the first time for a trial match and thinking that I'd finally made the big time. There have been plenty of great memories since then and I'm still enjoying the game but I just think it's best if I go out before I've passed my used by date,” Smith said.
Bulldogs CEO Bob Hagan says Smith's professionalism has been the key to his success over such a long period.
“He's been one of the best players going around for the past decade and probably hasn't received the credit or recognition he deserves. There are very few players who have been as consistent as him over such a long period and it's a tribute to his professionalism,” Mr Hagan said. “He's just as solid for us off the field and has been excellent as one of our senior players. It would be only fitting that we send him out in the style he deserves.”
Smith has no definite plans for the future aside from completing his Sports Science degree.
Games Trs Gls F/G Pts
CLUB CAREER 1990-2002
Canterbury Bulldogs 1990-94, 1999-2002 181 52 1 - 210 Brisbane Broncos 1995-98 87 56 - - 224 TOTAL 268 108 1 - 434
REPRESENTATIVE CAREER 1992-2002
QUEENSLAND 1992-2002 State of Origin 1992-2002 22 2 - - 8 Tri-series 1997 3 - - - 0 TOTAL 25 2 - - 8
AUSTRALIA 1997-1999 Super League Tests 1997 5 3 - - 12 Tests 1998-99 6 2 - - 8 TOTAL 11 5 - - 20
GRAND TOTAL All senior matches 304 115 1 - 462