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Hooker Smith finally feeling right fit at Roosters

3 minute read

Brandon Smith is vastly different to the Sydney Roosters hookers of the past 15 years, but he believes his ball-running strength is starting to fit in.

Brandon Smith believes his dynamic style at dummy-half is finally gelling with the Sydney Roosters' attack, with the hooker now feeling more comfortable at Bondi.

Frustrated by injuries in his first season at the Roosters last year, Smith has looked better on the front foot in the first month of this season.

The Kiwi international's arrival at the Roosters marked the most significant change to the club's attack out of dummy-half in close to 15 years.

While predecessors Jake Friend and Sam Verrills were pass-first hookers known for their service, the burly Smith is a noted runner of the ball out of dummy-half.

That has drawn concern from former Rooster Braith Anasta - who questioned whether Smith was the right fit, fearing the hooker would take time away from other attacking talents such as James Tedesco.

But while Smith admitted he was below his best against Penrith last week, he feels he has found a better combination with halves Luke Keary and Sam Walker.

"There's definitely more cohesion in the team," Smith said ahead of Friday's clash with Canterbury.

"Coming in as a spine player is always tough, and it's a completely different hooker role to Jake Friend.

"(He and I) don't play a very similar style, and it took a little bit to get used to. Now at least we're doing better.

"I'm definitely a lot more comfortable in the team, a lot more comfortable with being able to talk in meetings.

"You don't want to come in and express yourself fully when you first get there. It's been a lot better this year."

Smith said he had not had to change his own game significantly, but rather others had adapted to him.

"It's just getting more reps in together," the former Melbourne star said.

"Learning when I run, when I don't run. How I like to move in defence and stuff like that.

"It's just all of that cohesion. We're doing a really good job of it at the moment."

Walker said he had learned to adjust to having Smith at dummy-half, adamant it was in the best interests of the Roosters for the No.9 to play his natural game.

The pair only featured in 10 games together last year, due to injuries and Smith's time in reserve grade.

"He's one of the most dynamic ball-running No.9s in the game," Walker said.

"It's just letting him do his strengths and trying to work out how I can best capitalise off the back of (that).

"I just keep encouraging him to do his strengths, which is his running game. His vision is top shelf as well."

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