Brandon happy to play the waiting game
He's the heir apparent to the Storm's ageless skipper Cameron Smith, and 22-year-old Brandon Smith is happy to bide his time and keep learning from the master.
The young utility knows it could be another two or three years before he gets an extended chance in the No.9 jersey but in the meantime, he's hanging off the former Queensland and Australia skipper's every word.
"My thought process is I'm learning from the best player in my main position," he told NRL.com.
"If Cam plays on for another four years, then I'm learning for another four years. I'm not too fussed at all. If I get some opportunities to start through injuries, for now, I'm just sitting back and enjoying my football at the moment.
"As long as I progress into a better player and a better hooker, I'd be very excited about that."
And he's already starting that process. After featuring in three games last year, Smith has played 10 Telstra Premiership games in 2018. He's thrived on that extra responsibility.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy's brief? Provide a spark for the team.
"Craig has said to me he wants me to go on the field when everything's looking a bit down and out, and try and spark some energy and enthusiasm in the boys. I try to do that as best as possible. I don't really have another gear really - I just go all out as much as I can," Smith said.
"My confidence has definitely gone up - that Craig has the trust in me to go out there and do my job for the team, week in and week out."
Smith now feels like he belongs after an uncertain beginning at NRL level. He's surer of himself and his capabilities. It also didn't help that he has filled in at lock this year, rather than as at dummy-half.
"When I first started playing, I was really nervous," he said.
"Because I'm playing the lock role as well this year, I didn't get the gist of the position as well as I could of.
"Now, playing week in and week out, I've got the confidence to get ball in hand now and call some plays. Whereas I was holding myself back because I didn't want to say anything that was wrong."
Smith, who hails from Waikehe Island in New Zealand, admits that it took some time adjusting to life as a professional rugby league player.
But he's found inspiration and a perfect role model in halfback Brodie Croft, who he's lived with for the past 18 months.
"I've been lucky enough to be living with such a professional guy," he said.
"Before I came to the Storm, I wasn't the most professional off the field with all my sleep and diet, and all that, but it helps when you see someone like Brodie.
"He knows what he's been eating, he's eating healthy, and has set routines when he sleeps and wakes up. It rubs off a little bit off me."