Brandon Smith ‘underestimated’ his move to the Roosters

Despite making the NRL finals in 2023, it was a season that will be viewed by the Tri-colours as one that failed to get anywhere near expectations.

 

Earlier in the year, prized recruit and former Melbourne Storm wrecking ball Brandon Smith had expressed how after a string of sub-par performances and a long layoff from a broken thumb he was at ‘the lowest point’ of his career.

 

 

Forced to sit behind arguably the game’s benchmark hooker in Harry Grant at the Storm, Smith was signed to be the first-choice number 9 at the Roosters. He quickly found himself in an all-too-familiar position of being an impact player off the bench.

 

 

 

 

Compounding the misery, the Roosters were floundering about at the foot of the ladder.

 

“When I was at Melbourne, we didn’t have so many penalties and so many errors. We were the frontrunners, most times, but now we’re on the back foot and we have to learn to fight,” lamented Smith back in May.

 

 

Upon his return from injury, Brandon Smith was able to recapture good form, and the Roosters were the surprise entry into the finals, winning almost all of their final games to qualify.

 

And the scene was set for the ultimate headline as the Bondi club led Smith’s former club, the Storm, until a moment of Cameron Munster and Will Warbrick brilliance saw Melbourne snatch the victory in the dying moments.

 

 

 

 

Speaking with Sporting News, Smith opened up on how dramatic the difference was from playing rugby league in an AFL-dominated city to being the star recruit at the team known as ‘the glamour club’.

 

 

“I completely underestimated it. I didn’t realise that every paper, every week, Roosters are in there and there’s big write-ups. The scrutiny was a lot bigger…” Smith recounted.

 

For most of the year, the Roosters ranked near the bottom of the ladder both in attack and defense.

 

 

“It kind of takes a mental toll on you and it takes a physical toll on you. We’re working a lot harder than we need to be, people probably didn’t get rested as much as they would because we needed to win,” said Smith.

 

Many recognise Brandon Smith for his candour, confidence and raw ability on the field. While season 2023 was challenging in more ways than one, Smith is focused and driven on going deeper and vying for the premiership in 2024.

 

The Roosters haven’t lost too many big-name players, but can look forward to immediate impact from the dangerous former Penrith Panther Spencer Leniu, and the NRL’s second-highest try scorer, former Newcastle Knight Dominic Young.

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