Brandon Smith hasn’t taken long to endear himself to his Roosters teammates after a brilliant performance off the bench in the win over the Rabbitohs.
Smith and enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves both started off the field but had transformational impacts on the outcome as the Roosters wound up 20-18 winners.
The Kiwi hooker spent the first 24 minutes on the bench before replacing Jake Turpin and scored his team’s first try just 10 minutes later to change the momentum.
“We got off to a slow start there. Probably in previous years we would’ve fell away, but it was good to see the boys hang on,” Smith’s teammate Luke Keary said on Nine’s coverage after the game.
“We were real loose around the ruck and then Brandon (Smith) came on and you could feel the momentum change.
“We went through the middle and he scored that try and it just rolled on from there.”
Smith revealed that he’d learned from Roosters coach Trent Robinson that he’d be coming off the bench during Friday’s captain’s run due to carrying an oblique tear.
“Robbo said on the captain’s run, ‘I’m going to bring you off the bench’,” he said.
“I guess it took a bit of sting out of the game and looked after my oblique, everyone thinks it’s a rib (injury), but I tore my oblique.”
Smith was also full of praise for Waerea-Hargreaves for the impact he brought off the bench.
“Jared was huge tonight. I thought without him on the field tonight we wouldn’t have got that victory,” he said.
“We passed the ball around a bit too much in the first part of that first half, the game plan was to play through them, and when Jared came on he really lit the tempo up and we played more direct and straight.
“I was stoked to be out there with him.”