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Storm forward Brandon Smith.

Melbourne utility forward Brandon Smith laughs that he's added a few kilos since his official weight of 94kg was recorded but as one of the smallest men to be named at starting prop on an NRL team sheet this year, he's happy to be punching above his weight.

It was the suspension of one of the biggest props going around, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, that got Smith into the run-on side in round four – a spot he held upon the two-metre giant's return last weekend.

Playing arguably more in his usual loose middle forward role with lock Dale Finucane picking up some grunt work, Smith has maintained the ferocious energy that makes him such a weapon off the bench – although it's taken some adjusting to make sure he doesn't gas himself too early.

"It's definitely something different," he said.

"I know when I come off the bench I've got to go all-out and give it everything but when I'm starting I have to sort of conserve that energy and make the right decisions to be able to defend certain shapes and stuff like that so you need a bit more gas in the tank when you're playing up against a starting side."

Feats of strength exhibition from Brandon Smith

Smith is also relishing coming on against the best players rival teams have at their freshest.

"Coming up against starting sides is a bit different in quality of players," he added.

"I'm relishing being able to not only start but being able to compete against the best of the best in their positions for that team.

Storm still marvel at Smith's game

"It took a little while for me to transition into how to conserve my energy instead of just going mad to bring energy for the side that's already on the field but I think I'm doing an alright job and hopefully got many more games to start.

"I really like starting in the front row, it's a funny little string to my bow. A lot of people find it funny when they see me in the number 10 jersey on the start screen for Fox. It makes my parents happy so it makes me happy."

With the big Panthers pack waiting this week, Smith is looking forward to a reunion with his North Queensland under-20s teammate Viliame Kikau.

"I always thought he was going to be an unbelievable talent and he's lived up to everything I thought," Smith said.

"He was my starting front row when I played hooker in the 20s and he scored like 26 tries that year, then they moved him to back row and I knew straight away he was going to be something devastating out there.

"I look forward to playing him, he's a really good guy. A normal Fijian, humble as off the field then as soon as they get out there, aggressive as all."

After starting fast against the Knights, Smith was hoping for a repeat dose against the Panthers at Campbelltown this Friday.

"I think we just have to focus on starting our games well, we're not a team that usually does that too well," he said.

"We did it against the Knights and came away with a good result. It's the same against Penrith, they generally start very well and we're going to have to look into slowing that down. They've got some big boys, like Viliame Kikau, that need a bit more attention than others."