Season 2019 was an interesting year for the grand sport of rugby league.
Thanks to former players Denan Kemp (Bloke in a Bar and The Locker Room) and Isaac John (YKTR and YKTR Sports), league officially entered the internet banter era.
We met King Gutho and his signature dance move, Addo Bra, Victor Bra and Tommy Bra, The Goosey, Cam Murray’s sensational looks, and last but certainly not least, Hectic Cheese.
If you were born before the year 1990, you’ve probably stopped reading this by now. Fair enough. But the last of those aforementioned social media sensations deserves a serious plug for what he does on the field and the type of person he appears to be off it.
Of course, I do not know Brandon Smith personally. I most likely never will, but my word he seems like a top bloke. A genuine champion, both with and without the footy.
His performance for the Maori side in last week’s spectacular All Stars event was one of the most scintillating pre-season efforts we’ve seen in quite some time. What made it even more brilliant was the fact he literally broke his own face in the first few minutes before going on to single-handedly win the game in the last 20 minutes. Ooft.
Tough as nails, hard to stop and deceptively crafty. I suppose that’s why they call him hectic cheese after all.
All jokes aside, Brandon Smith is brilliant. The nuggety Storm rake – who doesn’t even get to play his preferred position in club football because another bloke called Smith plays that position and happens to be the greatest player of all time – is an absolute sensation of a footballer.
Give him a sniff close to the line and he’ll probably score. There’s isn’t really a more articulate way to explain it. Give him a sniff anywhere on the field, and he’ll likely exploit it.
It’s not inconceivable to think that, once the Cameron version of Smith retires, his Kiwi understudy and namesake will soon thereafter take his mantle of best dummy half in the world. You only need to look at his ability when he starts in the nine for NZ and now the Maori side to realise how incredibly gifted he is. It’s no wonder that Harry Grant – another highly rated young dummy half the Storm are hoarding – has asked for a release to play for the Wests Tigers.
Is there a chance Cameron Smith will finish his career in the seven to let Brandon Smith kick-start his NRL career in the nine? Probably not, but having seen enough of both, it’d probably work.
It’s hard to write about Brandon Smith’s character as a human being when you quite literally don’t know him, but having seen him interviewed before and after games, he just seems like an absolute corker of a guy. Is there anything else that really needs to be said?
Watch his speech after the All Stars game (you’ll find it somewhere on social media). Humble, humorous, well spoken and incredibly passionate about his culture. Oh, and he just seems to love the game of rugby league. Indeed, Smith just seems to get what it means to be in a position that so many kids aspire to be in.
That’s enough for me. Brandon Smith should be the face of the game. Make it happen, NRL.