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Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith will be presented with a custom-designed crystal football as the first player to reach 400 NRL games when he runs out on to AAMI Park on Saturday night.
If he was able to gaze into that ball 18 seasons ago, neither he, nor anyone else would have likely foreseen such a monumental career.
And despite turning 36 last month, Smith is contemplating shelving retirement and playing on past his current contract, which expires at the end of 2020.
He said Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy's thoughts were that if he was still performing and enjoying the game, he should play as long as he could.
And he agrees.
"At this stage I feel great physically and I feel fresh," Smith said on Monday.
"I don't have any thoughts of finishing up at this stage."
He admitted it helped that the Storm, ahead of their round 17 clash with Cronulla, were on top of the NRL ladder by six points.
"Everyone knows when you are winning and there is a good feeling everyone is happy.
"If we weren't winning, I might have a different outlook on my future but at this stage I don't think I will be finishing up," he said.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg sat by Smith's side as he addressed the media and described the 400-game feat as an "iconic moment in the game".
"It's considered quite remarkable to get to 300 games so Cameron's feat is astonishing, highlighting not only his ability but his durability," Greenberg said.
"To play 400 games, all at one club - this is what I would call rarefied air for our game."
Smith said the brutality of Bellamy's training sessions when he took over as Storm coach in 2003 had helped him develop the mental toughness to see out 400 games.
The physicality of that training, plus a dash of luck, meant he's only missed a gob-smacking 11 games through injury.
He described himself as old school, preferring a "few leg swings and arm rolls" over yoga or mindfulness as part of his game-day preparations.
"I know there's been some element of luck in my career to be able to punch out this many games," he said.
"But when things are challenging in games through the season or in games, you just go back to what you've gone through in the pre-season and remind yourself you've gone through tougher times."
A host of former teammates, including Billy Slater and fellow Queenslander Johnathan Thurston, will join with Smith's friends and family to form a special guard of honour at the game.
During the week, he will also have lunch with the AFL's appearance record-holder in former Kangaroo Brent Harvey, who clocked up 432 games, and also ex-Essendon player Dustin Fletcher, who finished on 400.
"It's a special occasion and it's going to be a real special day... but once we have a bit of fanfare at the start, it is all about the team playing well," Smith said.
© AAP 2019