NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has formally congratulated Melbourne Storm Captain Cameron Smith on becoming the first player to reach 400 matches.
The historic feat will be achieved on Saturday night, when Smith’s Storm face Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Greenberg paid tribute to Smith during a media conference in Melbourne today, when the details of the milestone initiatives, in partnership with Melbourne Storm, were detailed.
Greenberg announced that as part of the celebrations, a custom-designed crystal football will be presented to Smith to mark the achievement and a mural - to be painted by artist Sid Tapia - has been commissioned in Richmond featuring Smith’s image.
Capping off the pre-match entertainment - including a unique Blackout - former teammates Johnathan Thurston, Matt Geyer, Billy Slater and Brett Finch as well as Smith’s family will be part of a special guard of honour.
A specially-created CAM400 logo will be painted on the playing surface and a 360-degree crowd photo will be taken during the game and made live at NRL.COM/CAM400 within 24 hours for fans to find themselves and share that they were part of history.
Fans attending the game will be allowed onto AAMI Park for a special presentation moment and photograph after full time (weather permitting).
Smith will be presented with the Waterford crystal ball immediately following the match.
"We needed to deliver something special for a feat which is a first for the game and may never be repeated," Greenberg said.
"We wanted to ensure this was acknowledged for what it is – quite simply an extraordinary achievement.
"Cameron has played all 399 of his matches at the one Club, and along the way obviously has represented his Country and his State.
"He has an almost countless collection of records and milestones – the top point scorer in the history of the game, most wins. But not even they compare to his latest achievement, something which in the past might have appeared unrealistic.
"It is considered – and deservedly so – remarkable to play 300 games. But Cameron’s feat is astonishing – highlighting not only incredible ability but also durability.
"On behalf of the NRL, I congratulate Cameron on his incredible contribution."
The concept of the crystal football will be replicated for any further players who achieve the 400-game milestone.