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Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith is hoping he can be there next year when State of Origin returns to the MCG for the first time in 18 years.

After playing in Melbourne for the entirety of his first-grade career, the hooker has a personal connection to the city and the historical stadium.

“Well I’ve been a spectator as I’ve mentioned but I really can't imagine what it would be like down on this ground with a capacity crowd or near capacity crowd,” he said.

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“I’ve always said I'd like to run out onto the MCG even just for 15 minutes but hopefully this time next year I’ll get to play a full 80.”

Smith is confident that the game will be played in front of a packed house after seeing the code grow over the years.

“The guys mentioned earlier that the last game played here was close to 90,000…the sport’s more popular than ever down here, particularly State of Origin,” he said.

“Kids are always talking about Queensland and New South Wales and I couldn’t see any less than 95,000 here next year.

“In such a big game, a State of Origin match with that environment, the highest intensity that you’ll ever play in Rugby League with an impeccable stadium and a huge crowd it will just be enormous.”

The stage has been set for an entertaining Game 2 this year and the Queensland captain remarked on the intensity of last week's series opener.

“It was quite intense [the match], I think for the guys that got through it unscathed, even though we lost it was quite a rewarding feeling to come out of that match and say you were part of such a brilliant game of football,” he said.

“Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the scoreboard, but that’s State of Origin. You can’t win them all and we’ve got another chance down in Sydney.”

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Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.