Brad Fittler has called for Cameron Smith to be inducted as an Immortal immediately, despite the five-year rule.
Rugby league great Brad Fittler has called for newly retired legend Cameron Smith to be inducted as an Immortal immediately, declaring playing the waiting game would be “wasting time”.
The Australian Rugby League Commission has a rule that states that a player cannot become an Immortal until five years from their retirement, in a ploy to ensure emotion doesn’t push the panel into selecting a player.
That would mean Smith, whose retirement has this week rounded out arguably the greatest career in rugby league history, isn’t inducted until 2026.
But Fittler said the 430-game NRL champion had compiled such a phenomenal career that he shouldn’t have to wait.
“Make it tomorrow. We’re just wasting time until he goes in,” Fittler said on Nine’s pre-match coverage of the Melbourne Storm’s clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“This bloke to the left of me (Johnathan Thurston) is a good chance of getting in some day.
“What Cam Smith has done in the game – the way he has manipulated the result, he speeds up the game, he slows down the game, he turns the momentum in his favour with a kick. He can do everything and to do it over for so long, for so long. Just incredible.
“So yeah, why waste everyone’s time? Just do it tomorrow.”
Smith’s 430 NRL games is the competition record, his 42 Queensland appearances is the State of Origin record and his 56 Tests for Australia is second to just Darren Lockyer.
The 37-year-old also lays claim to the most wins in premiership history (310), the most points (2786) and the most wins as captain (242).
There are 13 rugby league Immortals: Clive Churchill, Bob Fulton, Arthur Beetson, Frank Burge, Mal Meninga, John Raper, Graeme Langlands, Andrew Johns, Dave Brown, Reg Gasnier, Wally Lewis, Dally Messenger and Norm Provan.
While it’s unsure if the ARLC will make an exception for Smith to be immortalised inside five years of retiring, he and Billy Slater were this week immortalised in bronze when statues of the legendary duo were unveiled at Melbourne Olympic Park.
Smith and Slater are among a host of rugby league greats in the Immortals conversation, along with the likes of Cooper Cronk, Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Brad Fittler and Ron Coote.