When asked for his one major take-away from playing alongside the legendary Cameron Smith while at the Melbourne Storm, Gold Coast Titans halfback Ryley Jacks says it was “three things”.
It is not that Jacks is having trouble making up his mind. “Three things” was the words of advice that Smith gave to Jacks before his first grade debut, and the lesson has resonated ever since.
“Down there, it is all about nailing your role,” Jacks said.
“You get really specific things – like three things – you need to do, and he just drills that into you all week.
“That was all he said to me about my debut: Just do your three things for the team.”
Smith plays his 400th NRL game this weekend in a remarkable feat of longevity for the player who may go down in history as the greatest ever.
Jacks said it was a privilege to play alongside the former Australian and Queensland skipper, a privilege that made life a lot easier for a young half coming into first grade.
“He is something else – 400 games is just crazy.” Jacks said. “He never looks tired out there and never picks up any injuries.
“I think the one thing about Smithy that I took out of it was how calm he was out on the field. The bigger the situation, the calmer he was.
“His ability to read numbers is just something else. He plays hooker like a half. He can read numbers and he always goes the right way.
“We would set up both ways, and you didn’t have to call if you knew it was on out there – he’d just give it to you. He played eyes-up all the time and read the game like no one else.
“His leadership is next level. Being the Australian and Queensland captain, he has great leadership off the field.
“He made people accountable. You know, if you made errors at training or in the games, he’d make sure that you learnt off that mistake and were better next week.”