2022-05-23 22:30:00

The Roosters recruitment of Brandon Smith to be their starting hooker has come under the microscope after a sub-par performance against the Cowboys.

Regular dummy-half Harry Grant shifted into the halves to fill the void left by Jahrome Hughes, allowing Smith an opportunity with ball in hand.

In the past the 25-year-old has shown his ability as an elite hooker and was snapped up on a reported $800k-a-year three-year contract to join the Tricolours.

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The No.9 jersey has become one of the most important positions in the modern game and now Smith’s ability to compete as an elite hooker has come under fire.

“Brandon Smith at nine, is he the answer? Watching Smith’s game on the weekend, I thought he struggled with his passing game,” NRL 360 host Braith Anasta said.

“His decisions when to run the football and when not were just nowhere near where they needed to be.”

“He is not that game manager type dummy-half that they need him to be, that Melbourne are used to having, Smith into Harry Grant,” Paul Kent said.

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“I think he is more a lock than a nine which again takes me to next year, where the Roosters have paid $800k for him to be a specialist hooker,” Anasta said.

“I was watching that game on the weekend thinking, if I am the Roosters, I am a little bit nervous if this man is the right man for the job.

“Just looking at his service out of dummy-half, his timing, his passing, his options, does he take the right option at the right time?”

Smith has been used by Craig Bellamy in the middle forwards over the last two seasons, with Harry Grant cementing himself as the first-choice hooker.

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Braith Anasta believes the No.13 jersey is his best position, while The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield likened him to a future teammate.

“To me he is more of a lock,” Anasta said.

“His best strength out of dummy-half is his running game, he is a bulldog when he can get out quick and take a line on,” Fox League’s James Hooper said.

“Tell you who he reminds me of is Victor Radley at the Roosters, when he was young started as a hooker, then he got big and strong and moved to lock forward,” The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield said.

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“I think we are seeing something similar with Brandon Smith and particularly as Harry Grant will have a mortgage on that position for so long, Brandon sort of was trained in the off-season not to play hooker.

“He was trained to be a middle forward.”

But, doubt expert coach Trent Robinson at your own peril.

The Roosters boss has a knack of taking players and squeezing the absolute best out of them, and Anasta believes that could be the case in Brandon Smith’s recruitment.

“Braith surely you’d back someone like Trent Robinson… surely he can fine tune the areas in his game,” Hooper asked.

“Robbo will get him as good as he will ever get, he will be fine-tuned, working on his passing and decision making,” Anasta said.

“All I am saying is you would be a little bit concerned as a Rooster because they need a genuine nine, they need a genuine nine, a position that is so important in our game at the moment, all the great teams have got a great nine.”

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Source by [graycupnews.com]

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