MELBOURNE - Cameron Smith is confident his body will allow him to play rugby league at the top level into his mid-30s after signing a lucrative four-year NRL contract extension with Melbourne.
The Australia, Queensland and Storm captain had been linked with a big-money move to rivals Brisbane, but chose instead to stay in Melbourne.
Smith — whose three young children have lived all of their lives in the Victorian capital — said family was his biggest consideration in deciding where he'd finish up his career.
But going back to Brisbane, where he played his junior football before joining the Storm in 2002, had certainly been a consideration.
"There were times, on and off, where I thought the best decision was to go back to Queensland, given that all our support network is up there — in immediate family," Smith said.
"But I think a discussion my wife and I had while we were overseas sort of made the decision clear that I wanted to play in Melbourne and my wife was extremely happy to stay."
Smith will be 35 when the new deal runs out at the end of the 2018 season, but insisted the length of the extension would not be a problem.
"At the moment I feel great," he said.
"For me, age is a number.
"People keep reminding me that I'm getting on a bit and a couple of the other boys are getting on a bit at the club but as long as I feel good mentally and feel good inside I want to keep playing.
"I feel like I'm a pretty honest person and if I felt like I had nothing left to give to this club or the game then I would probably have told the club this was my last year.
"But I still feel like I've got something to offer the Melbourne Storm."