IN THE 107-year history of rugby league in Australia, only one man who played for his country - John Quayle - went on lead the game as CEO, sitting in the ultimate seat of administrative power.

But that could all change in the foreseeable future if a young man being saluted this week before his 300th NRL game is encouraged to take that same post-game career path.

Cameron Smith is, without a single doubt, destined for still greater things in the world of rugby league.

Tonight, fittingly in Melbourne, he becomes the 24th player in the NRL to play 300 games, and just the ninth to reach the majestic milestone with one club.

Add to that his other extraordinary achievements and no-one can question the playing ability of the current Storm, Queensland and Australian captain.

But there is much, much more to Cameron Smith than his on-field ability.

As he has displayed during the past two weeks following the controversy whipped up by 60 Minutes, he is a man of genuine substance.

Most of us have read much into the damning revelations in the 60 Minutes program, but there is little doubt it was a character assassination of the Maroons skipper heading into the Origin decider.

And I concede that, as a former NRL club communications manager, I'm uncertain as to how I would have directed my captain to respond.

But Cameron Smith answered in the best possible and most professional way. He kept his mouth shut and did his talking on the field.

And now that the media feeding frenzy has abated somewhat, he intends handling the issue with Alex McKinnon behind closed doors.

Although aired scurrilously by 60 Minutes, this is a private matter and will be treated as such by Smith.

Almost from the day he debuted for the Storm 13 years ago, Cameron Smith has displayed an implausible aura of confidence.

He is never rushed, makes shrewd decisions and is a strong and assertive leader.

But just as importantly, he is unpretentious and absolutely unaffected by his success.

Add those qualities to his intelligence, his eloquence and his committed love for and knowledge of the game, and he has the package to one day be its leader.

Hopefully - for the sake of rugby league - he is encouraged to follow that career path.

Yes, yes, yes: The introduction of a 30-second shot clock for line drop-outs from next season is manna from heaven for the fans, but needs to also include scrums.

No, no, no: News that Jarryd Hayne is being paid $50,000 a year by the Eels as part of his 'lifetime contract' deal adds to the theory the administration at the club has strange priorities.

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