‘Best in the game’: Smith’s insane mark
A week before becoming the first player to play 400 NRL matches, Cameron Smith kicked a late penalty goal for his 2500th first grade point to help his side to a 16-14 win.
Smith, who has racked up records throughout his career at club, state and national level, is the first player to reach the points milestone, after he overtook former Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri with 2418 points in April.
The incredible achievement came after a controversial finish to the game.
Inside the final 15 minutes, the Dragons were awarded a penalty for dangerous contact, when halfback Darren Nicholls was knocked to the ground.
Hardly considered a big hit, the Storm's Brandon Smith and Jesse Bromwich pushed the halfback.
On Fox League, Michael Ennis let out a derisive laugh when he saw the replay.
"There's not much in that at all," Ennis said. "Wow, wow. OK. That's a soft penalty."
On Channel 9's post-match show, Paul Vautin lashed out at the call.
"It was a controversial penalty I thought at the end there, the dangerous contact," he said. "I thought there wasn't dangerous contact and on the back of that they from there."
Off the penalty, the Dragons scored through Mikaele Ravalawa who ran through sloppy Storm defence to make it 14-all.
But with just under seven minutes remaining, the Dragons' Jacob Host was called for an escort penalty with the Storm's Jahrome Hughes run off the ball.
While it was unlikely he would have been able to make a play at the ball, Host made sure it was blocked, but there was belief Hughes may have been off-side.
Smith made no mistake with the penalty, bringing up an incredible milestone.
Matthew Johns praised Smith after the match and said the star has more petrol and could keep playing beyond his current contract.
"He has played 502 games including representative games and in my opinion he is still the best player in the game," Johns said.
"Apparently they are going to wind him up next year, but I tell you what. If Melbourne don't want him then I'm sure a couple of other clubs would try and pick him up."
Post-match, Storm coach Craig Bellamy said the 400 game milestone will be a massive moment for Smith and the NRL.
"I don't think anyone can pump up his tyres any more than they're already pumped up so I'd come out and say, other than finals games, I don't think this club will ever have a bigger game than next week," he said. "It's a huge honour for Cameron and a huge honour for our club. It's a great honour for the club to have Cameron play all those games at our club as well so we see it as a really big occasion for him and hopefully we can play to honour him and his achievements in the game."
When asked about his own record of 300 wins as an NRL coach, Bellamy was less inspired.
"That's nice," Bellamy said. "People sometimes ask me what makes a good coach. Good players. I've been blessed with the players we've had at this club."
Ladder leaders Melbourne extended their NRL winning streak to seven.
With both sides hit hard by the representative drain, Smith guided the Storm around the field at a wet and windy WIN Stadium.
The Storm were missing 627 NRL games worth of talent with six players away on Origin duty in Josh Addo-Carr, Will Chambers, Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster and Christian Welch.
But the Dragons had 1224 games missing with Corey Norman, Ben Hunt, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Paul Vaughan away for Origin while James Graham (ankle) and Gareth Widdop (shoulder) recovering from injury.
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