Trophy life: Smith and Storm’s all-nighter
Melbourne Storm claimed an incredible premiership after knocking over the Penrith - check out the highlights and lowlights from NRL grand final weekend.
Cameron Smith was so keen to get the NRL trophy home that he didn't even bother to have a shower after the game.
The Storm legend was still in his playing outfit in the early hours of this morning as he sat in seat down in row one on the charter flight back to the Sunshine Coast.
Super coach Craig Bellamy was in the row behind.
The Storm partied long into the night one after their win over Penrith, arriving back at their Sunshine Coast base at 5am Monday.
Smith was still giving away nothing about his future.
Even teammate Brandon Smith, who eventually wants his No.9 jersey, declared: "He shouldn't be forced out of the game."
Catch Fox League's grand final reviews and replays on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
A grand final without the major refereeing blunders from last season. The bunker missed a blatant obstruction before the Brian To'o try for the Panthers but overall the performances of Gerard Suttion and Steve Chiddy had no influence on the outcome.
No more Smith after 430 NRL games, 56 Test matches for Australia and 42 Origin games. The greatest player of all time.
State of Origin faces a huge battle to be No.1 show on Australian television like in previous years. It has to knock off the AFL grand final which rated a whopping 3.812 million in Brisbane on Channel 7.
FLY IN, FLY OUT
The Origin teams will have a problem flying out of Adelaide after the opening game of the series on November 4 because of a strict 11pm airport curfew. The NRL is in talks with the local RAAF base to get both teams out after the game.
Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses having a coffee with retired coach Warren Ryan at Maroubra, no doubt looking for tips to take his game to the next level in 2021.
Former Prime Minister John Howard among a host of politicians at the big game including Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Penrith Panthers tragic Stuart Ayres.
A couple of handy old Sea Eagles premiership winners - Anthony Watmough and Brett Stewart - at the Boatshed bar in Manly.
Ben Hunt getting his son and daughter haircuts at Boys to Menz in Caringbah before going into Origin camp for four weeks with the Maroons.
Catch you tonight on NRL 360 on Fox Sports at 6.30pm with Yvonne Sampson in the chair for Ben Ikin plus Paul Kent and James Hooper to discuss all the big issues from the grand final.
SHAME BENNETT WON'T PLAY BALL WITH ORIGIN DOCO
The return of old super coach Wayne Bennett to State of Origin this year was seen as a marketing masterstroke.
In a tough year for Queensland rugby league, in which its three teams failed to make the finals and the Broncos finished with the wooden spoon, there were fears about the competitiveness of the Maroons.
Plus the AFL had rolled into town and stolen the front and back pages in a city rugby league once had virtually to itself.
Enter Bennett and his new sidekick Mal Meninga.
Two legends of Origin football who would ensure the media exposure north of the border and The Courier-Mail coverage would be as proud and parochial as ever.
Then comes a new opportunity to take the game to a huge new audience. Channel 9's Karl Stefanovic plans a documentary from inside the NSW and Queensland camps to be shown to the world. We're not talking rusted on rugby league types but new customers.
This at a time when Origin TV ratings have been in a steep decline.
The Last Dance Michael Jordan documentary was a smash hit ratings success.
So too was the Australian cricket team feature on Amazon that told the remarkable story of the comeback from the ball-tampering scandal.
Amazon is now doing one on the AFL.
It has been filming with its highest-profile players from behind the scenes all year.
Then along comes this wonderful chance for rugby league.
Freddy Fittler is the most outstanding promoter of rugby league.
He has some natural concerns about privacy issues but agrees to do it because he can see the benefits.
He knows all sports in this media era have to grasp new opportunities.
Press conferences and stock standard answers are now old-fashioned.
Bennett is too old school. He won't have a bar of it, even with a guarantee that any offensive footage can be vetoed before it goes to air.
No one on the QRL can see the benefit for its sponsors and its fans.
No one will overrule Bennett.
It is a shocking decision and helps explain why the game north of the border is in such poor shape.
They are living in the past.
Originally published as Trophy life: Smith and Storm's all-nighter