Ben's brilliant career in blue and gold to end

Rugby League Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks at Parramatta Stadium Eels Ben Smith. Monday May 23rd 2011.Pictures Steve Christo

Rugby League Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks at Parramatta Stadium Eels Ben Smith. Monday May 23rd 2011.Pictures Steve Christo

rugby league  Parramatta Eels V North Queensland  Ben Smith goes to the line for another Parramatta try.  080505 Tim Clayton SMH Sport SPECIALX LEAGUE

rugby league Parramatta Eels V North Queensland Ben Smith goes to the line for another Parramatta try. 080505 Tim Clayton SMH Sport SPECIALX LEAGUE

rugby league  Bulldogs V Parramatta eels  Ben Smith scores a Parramatta try  030807 Tim Clayton SMH Sport

rugby league Bulldogs V Parramatta eels Ben Smith scores a Parramatta try 030807 Tim Clayton SMH Sport

BIG Ben Smith has had a big brilliant career.

Last week the 29-year-old announced his career would be ending.

He will retire at the end of the year as a one-club man, having played a decade in the blue and gold.

After his debut in 2004, the Werris Creek junior has been a mainstay of the Eels team.

In 2005, Smith had a break-out year scoring 14 tries in the centres as Parramatta won the minor premiership.

Four years later and Smith was again a vital part of the Eels' charge to the grand final; only this time as a backrower.

His versatility has been a major asset throughout his career, which reached the 150 game milestone last week.

Asked this week to nominate a highlight of his career, Smith said: "The career is not over. I'll wait until it's over to reflect on my career.

"Hopefully there are more highlights to come."

It's that selfless approach which has made him one of the most popular teammates since he made his debut against Melbourne in 2004.

Unfortunately, injury has hampered the latter part of his career and he has managed only 24 games in the past three years.

It has made him treasure every moment in the blue and gold.

"Being my last few games I'm just enjoying it; I'm enjoying sitting in the sheds and watching the boys. I have a different perspective of it," he said.

"And I'm just making the most of it while I can because I know it's not going to be around much longer."

His focus has shifted to this week's game against Manly as the Eels look to bounce back from a tight loss to the Bulldogs which left them two points outside the top eight.

"Last week was unfortunate; we had our opportunities but didn't take advantage of them," he said. "But we have learnt from our mistakes and know we can perform better and we will need to against Manly on Friday."

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