https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sp...as-slater-smith-fall-out-20180602-p4zj4o.html They’ve been as tight as almost any two players in the game – mates since their earliest professional days – but the relationship between Billy Slater and Cameron Smith is not what it was. And for Slater, the deterioration in their friendship is something of a mystery. It’s a hard thing to comprehend because there have not been cross words between the pair, as far as we are aware. Expect denials to flow, but Smith has withdrawn from their friendship to a point where people are telling me about it. Slater is said to be taken aback. It must be a recent thing as well because Smith and Slater were close during last year’s World Cup – as were their respective wives, Barb and Nicole. We called Slater’s agent, George Mimis, about it, but he point blank refused to discuss it. Smith’s manger, Isaac Moses, has not returned calls we made to him last year so there is no point in discussing the matter with him, or trying to tell Smith we were raising it publicly. You have to wonder whether Smith is as tight as he was with other teammates, too. When Smith announced a few weeks ago that he would retire from representative football, Greg Inglis asked me if it was true because Smith didn’t tell him he was going to quit. Inglis couldn’t believe his ears. Keep in mind, this was the Queensland captain-in-waiting finding out the news from a journo. Smith’s behaviour in recent times has surprised a lot of people. The most obvious example was his decision to quit rep football just weeks out from the start of the Origin series. The timing has left plenty in the game baffled and while everyone in the media will chat about it, they won’t dare bring it up or ask out loud about it because Smith is a such an influential and respected figure in the game. Smith has ample media outlets to respond and explain if he wants. But the idea of him not wanting to beat the Blues one last time and have a farewell series, finishing at Suncorp Stadium, is mind boggling. When you look at Slater and how he has handled his exit from the rep scene, you can’t help but think that Smith could have learnt from that. Slater would never ask for a series of performances to be dedicated to him – or even to consider himself worthy of a “do it for Billy” campaign – but Slater’s presence, and the desire to send him out a winner, are huge bonuses for the Queenslanders. Smith’s exit, on the other hand, is seen by many to be about Smith and not his team or the state he has served with such aplomb for so many years. It is Danny Weidler, but parts of it do fit with other stories doing the rounds about the real story behind Smith's rep retirement.