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Cheese to the cutting board: Why Brandon Smith's shelf life may soon be expiring at the Roosters

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Editor
10th June, 2024
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2347 Reads

Brandon Smith was one of the most polarising players in the game. Then he came to the Roosters in search of a starting No.9 role – but his shimmer is not the same.

The 28-year-old was issued a breach notice by his club on Sunday after failing to attend the Roosters mid-season review the previous Monday.

Trent Robinson and Tricolours powerbrokers were having a discussion regarding the club’s round 13 loss, a disappointing 16-18 upset where the Cowboys fielded a severely Origin-depleted outfit.

Smith says he was out with family and left his phone at home, but the benign act could have a cataclysmic influence on his playing future.

Brandon Smith of the Roosters runs the ball during the round 11 NRL match between Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium, on May 18, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Brandon Smith takes on the line against the Sharks. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Smith burst onto the scene as a blocky utility with sharp acceleration and toughness in bounds to become a Kiwi representative and 2020 premiership winner at Melbourne.

He earned his stripes as the understudy of Cameron Smith, coming off the bench to provide a spark around the ruck and in the middle – barging through tired defence and putting on big shots.

The impact player would charge into collisions and bolt through gaps – he was the man who could create change in the matter of a set.

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When Melbourne anointed Harry Grant as their successor for Cameron Smith, ‘Hectic Cheese’ decided to seek interest elsewhere – completely understandable at the time. A player of his calibre should not have to be second-fiddle.

Cameron and Brandon Smith in 2019Cameron and Brandon Smith celebrate a try in 2019. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)[/caption]

Not only does Smith lack the marathon endurance of a top-notch hooker, but his kicking game is absent. Let him have two jobs, run and tackle.

Except, how are the Roosters supposed to manage the trio of Watson, plus both Brandon and Sandon Smith?

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While many believe Sandon Smith is next up for the retiring Luke Keary, the move would leave the Chooks with two young halves – a proposition that is against the history of the successful Robinson era.

Yet, clearing out the hefty price of Brandon Smith could relieve some cash and roster headaches – not to mention his off-field liability insurance.

It would mean Robinson having to accept his myth was busted – but reverting hectic back to the bench could inspire a return to his maniac 30-minute performances.

Clear up $500,000 a year, beef up Watson’s contract a little, and it leaves the Roosters with plenty of options. One of those, Kalyn Ponga – who just happens to have a great chemistry with Watson.

Late night phone trouble with David Fifita showed players the Roosters are ready to buy and invest in the next big thing – but they won’t fool around with someone who isn’t committed long term.

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Go back to the premiership years of 2019, 2018 and 2013. Jake Friend had his fingerprints all over them. Not a world-beater by any means, Friend knew his place in a side that was full of ability – all he had to do was tackle, put ball to chest and provide a long kick or grubber if needed.

Now he works in Chooks’ academy program as their head coach, and owns a humble small plumbing business in Sydney’s east – but if things keep clogged at the Roosters ruck, it will be Robbo doing the flushing.

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