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Storm hooker Brandon Smith.

When you are stuck behind the best hooker in the game and arguably the greatest player ever seen then you get used to doing your fair share of waiting.

And that's the scenario facing Kiwi hooker Brandon Smith on the eve of yet another season at the Storm as the NRL's games record holder Cameron Smith continues to do what he does best.

Brandon Smith would be starting rake at plenty of clubs, but at the Storm the 23-year-old must bide his time and wait for his experienced skipper to call time on one of the greatest career in the game's history

While admitting the prospect of another season off the bench might in fact be stunning his short-term growth, Brandon is more than happy to play the long game and think of the fruits that will be delivered during the back end of his career.

"I guess it is damaging my value a bit, but if I stay in the Storm system long enough then I will be increasing my value at the same time," he said.

"If we go on and win premierships and do all these great things, it is a good thing for me.

"That is just how the game is and I knew the responsibilities when I signed my contract.

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"Making all the rep sides is awesome, but the ultimate goal is winning a rugby league premiership... hopefully it all clicks into place this year.”

To understand the importance of Brandon Smith to the Storm, one only needs to look at the energy he brings off the bench and his ability to lift his teammates with a powerhouse charge or driving tackle.

Such was Smith's impact in 2019 he was named the NRL's best interchange player and coach Craig Bellamy must be tempted at some stage to find a way to get him into his starting side.

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Bellamy set a precedent when he changed his spine on the eve of the finals last year by dropping Brodie Croft to the bench to ensure Ryan Papenhuyzen got as much playing time as possible and he could potentially move Cameron Smith into the halfback role and Brandon to No.9 to maximise the Kiwi's impact.

Brandon Smith said any move that saw him thrust into the starting line-up wouldn't sit well with him as it would mean one of his teammates would have to go to the bench.

"I don’t want our halfback (Jahrome Hughes) to lose his spot," he said.

"It's about what we want to do to be the best team in the comp.

"If Cameron is at nine, or I am at nine it doesn’t really matter."

For the first few weeks there will be no debate as Brandon remains sidelined with the face injury he suffered playing for the Maori All Stars last month.

That injury is likely to keep him out until round three, giving him the chance to continue to carefully study his captain and try and pick up all the traits that make him one of the best players ever to lace a boot.

"When I watch Cameron, I am like 'gee he is good'," he said.

"We are different players as we play a completely different game and I can’t just pick apart his game and say 'yeah, I am going to play like him' because that is not the way I play at hooker.

"There is a reason he has been around for so long and he has been able to prolong his career for so long.

"That is more what I want to learn off him as I want to be around this game for a long time and create a legacy for myself."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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