The prospect of winning another NRL premiership with Melbourne has skipper Cameron Smith feeling excited as he prepares for his 19th and final season.
The 36-year-old put an end to retirement talk on Thursday, while also dismissing a report he would spend his last year playing halfback rather than hooker.
Smith said he felt the Storm, who won the minor premiership but crashed out of the finals race with two straight losses, could go to another level in 2020.
He said the initial disappointment, and the realisation that his "chances were running out" made him contemplate finishing up, but he now believed the prospect of winning another title was still alive.
Smith has been a part of two premierships, while the Storm also had two stripped for salary cap cheating.
"I'm excited to see the squad improve on last year, although some people may scoff at that after our record (20-4) in the regular season," the 411-game record-holder said.
"But I know the entire squad and coaching staff, the whole organisation were disappointed with the way we finished the year and the way we bowed out of the finals.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the younger guys go to another level in 2020.
"Given what they were able to give us in 2019, I'd like to think we're going to be very competitive again in 2020 and as a 36-year-old that really excites me."
Smith has negotiated another lengthy break with coach Craig Bellamy, despite not being involved in any representative matches post-season.
He will head home to Queensland with his family in December and return to training on January 3.
"I've got long service leave as I had last year as well, that seemed to work well for me and gives me time to freshen up and get ready for another season," Smith said.
"You need that time as an older player because it takes a lot of effort to get through a gruelling season and not only that, but sitting through meetings with Craig Bellamy for 10 months takes a lot out of you."
Initially confirming on Monday that he had made the decision to fulfill the final year of his contract, Smith posted on Twitter about 2020 and also laughed off talk of a positional switch.
"Contrary to reports...... switching to halfback won't be happening. #sillyseason," he tweeted.
Australian Associated Press