Topic: Rugby League

Smith to debut at hooker for Kiwis

By Tamati Tiananga

Brandon Smith will make his debut for the Kiwis at hooker against Australia on Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium.  Kiwis Head Coach, Michael Maguire believes Smith has the experience to get the job done.

"He will be the hooker, I want to give him a great opportunity and a pathway to where we are going. Brandon is a young player who has played hooker throughout his career," says Maguire  

The starting line-up was set to be named later in the week, but today Maguire confirmed he sees the Melbourne Storm forward utility in the hooking role for the tripleheader against Australia.  

“I’ve watched him right through his juniors and he’s a quality hooker and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow,” says Maguire   

The 22-year-old from Waiheke Island got his first taste of the Kiwis camp during last year’s Anzac Test.  This week he sees himself replacing the injured Kiwis Test Veteran Isaac Luke who underwent shoulder surgery last week.  

"So far it's been all of a flash and I don't want to take anything for granted. I've got to soak it all in while it's happening," says Smith.

Smith's NRL Captain, Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith has played a key role in Smith's NRL development, while Isaac Luke has played a similar role in the Kiwis champ.  

"As a person he - Cameron Smith is at the top, he's teaching me discipline off the field more important than that things on the field. Once you've had the off field stuff sorted, the on field stuff will take care of itself," says Smith

"Looking at either Issac Luke or Cameron Smith he has been able to watch the style of those players and create his own and he probably has a blend of both in some way," says Maguire  

Maguire will name his side to face Australia on Tuesday.