Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith reportedly required painkilling injections throughout the season to get through training and matches.
The veteran skipper missed two games after injuring his AC joint while scoring a try against Newcastle in round 12, but according to Storm football manager Frank Ponissi, was determined to return to the field as soon as possible.
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This meant repeated injections to dull the pain from the ‘annoying’ injury, which Ponissi said was never able to be treated properly.
“He had to get needled every game to play out the season,” Ponissi told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He even had to get needled at times so he could train.
“The injury was more annoying than anything, but it never really had the chance to heal. He kept whacking it in games and it lingered throughout the rest of the season. He’s been carrying it for a while.”
The needles did the trick on Sunday night, with Smith scoring a try to help the Storm to a memorable 26-20 victory over the Penrith Panthers.
Smith’s future is likely to be the subject of continued speculation over the off-season, after the 37-year-old said there was no announcement coming on his future after the grand final.
Betting agency's $5m Cameron Smith blunder
Sportsbet were left red-faced after the NRL grand final when their decision to pay out on Cameron Smith to win the Clive Churchill medal backfired.
The Australian betting giants paid out around $5 million for anyone who backed Smith to win man of the match in Sunday night’s grand final.
But their decision to do so before the award had been announced proved a massive blunder.
With the Storm well on their way to victory and Smith having scored a rare try, Sportsbet paid out early.
However the gong went to teammate Ryan Papenhuyzen, who had a blinder at fullback for the Storm.
“After 430 NRL games including eight deciders, we figured (Smith) would know how to play out a whole match,” Sportsbet’s Rich Hummerston said in a statement.
“The silver lining is the $1.3 million we paid out early on Labor to win the 2019 election doesn’t seem so bad.”
Betting agencies often pay out early in an attempt to encourage bettors to reinvest their money with more bets.
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