Practice pays off for ice-cool captain
Just when you think Cameron Smith could not get any better, he does.
Smith slotted a penalty kick with seconds remaining in full-time to level the scores before stepping up to win the game with a golden point field goal from dummy half.
It was the champion hooker’s second game-winning kick this season as he steered his side to a sixth straight win and into top spot on the NRL ladder.
The game looked to have slipped out of Melbourne’s reach when they trailed by two points in the final minute of the game.
However with time expiring Storm were handed a lifeline when the Rabbitohs were penalised late for a dangerous throw on Cameron Munster.
That left Smith with a 39-metre penalty kick to send the game into golden point.
“I kick those sort of distances at training but playing in games is a bit different after 79 minutes and 30 seconds,” Smith said.
“The Bunnies defended well all night so I thought I’d better have the shot. Once I decided I was having a shot at goal I was fine with the decision.
“I was very confident I was always going to get the distance, it was just a matter of getting it between the sticks. There was a little bit of breeze there but that is my job, I’m the goal kicker, I practice that three times a week, every week.”
That was only one-part of his heroics, a 20-metre field goal would soon follow.
“Cooper had a shot earlier and he had a fair bit of heat on him in that one,” Smith said.
“He mentioned to me when we got the ball back on those seven tackles that maybe if I see the opportunity to go on the left side and have a crack.
“Thankfully this time I struck it well.”
It is hardly the first time the skipper has steered his side to victory but his coach admits he had his doubts in the closing stages.
“I thought it was going to be really tough to be quite honest,” Craig Bellamy said.
“Smithy stepped up, it was a great kick under pressure and to kick that field goal, that is why he gets paid the big money.
“To realise that the two markers went the way they did and to kick it as well, that is why he is a special player.
“We were really lucky tonight and it was a couple of big plays that got us home.”
Storm will take on the third-placed Raiders next Saturday night in Canberra.