Brandon Smith Minutes, Sydney Roosters, Drew Hutchison, Connor Watson, Trent Robinson, Round 1

Braith Anasta has asked if Brandon Smith can be an 80-minute player for the Roosters at Hooker, having only done so once in his NRL career to date.

Smith will start in Round 1 against the Dolphins in the No. 9 jersey, but Drew Hutchison has been selected as cover on the bench while Jake Turpin is on the reserve.

“Brandon Smith can he play 80 minutes for the Roosters?” Anasta asked on NRL 360.

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“He did once. Is there an expectation that he will play 80 minutes? You didn’t bench with Jake Turpin. You went with Drew Hutchison. I think that’s meant to cover a number of positions but it will be interesting to see how Brandon is used and if they continue to use him the way they are doing this first round.

“It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.”

Paul Kent noted that Smith has honestly said he needs to improve his fitness to play bigger minutes and believes the Roosters are smart about getting him into his new full-time whore role.

“You just have to try and put minutes into him,” Kent said.

“He admitted that himself, so let’s not mix around and come up with the stats. He talked about that.


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Brandon Smith needs to play bigger minutes for the Roosters.Source: Getty Images

“In his entire NRL career, he had one game where he played the full 80 minutes at Hooker.

“He’s played eight games over 70 minutes in his entire career. We know that from him.

“The Roosters got him there and they want to make him an 80-minute player at some point, but they just can’t put the minutes right in there. It will burn him out.

“It’s a build-up process throughout the season. He is aware of that. They had Connor Watson with them to fill in for him but he’s injured so he won’t be able to do that now.”

James Hooper praised the Roosters for bringing in former Broncos rake Jake Turpin as cover for injured Watson and Smith.

“Where they were smart over the summer was when they realized Watson was going to be out for an extended period, they went and bought Jake Turpin,” Hooper said.

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The Roosters have cover for Smith as he builds his fitness.Source: Getty Images

“He is named on the extended reserve for Sunday’s game. I’m not sure if he’s playing this week or not, but I think over the course of the year, depending on how Brandon’s minutes stack up and how that balancing act works, I think there’s a useful foil if needed.”

Anasta thinks if Joey Manu returns he can cover the halves which could see Turpin replace Hutchison on the bench.

“I think with Manu and the lack of depth in the full-backs, Hutchison can cover that if they need him and the halves,” Anasta said.

“Where as if Manu was in there, then maybe Turpin will start there in the No 14 because they don’t have to worry as much about their back if there’s an injury out there.”

Kent explained the science behind NRL teams, which allows coaches to monitor players’ heart rates to know when it’s time to give them a break.

“Also the other thing with Brandon Smith is different than it used to be when a coach had to keep a good eye on how a player travels from the coaching box, they sit there now and have the GPS packs that sit on their backs and measure theirs heart rate,” Kent said.

Smith admitted he still had work to do after the Storm’s trial.Source: News Corp Australia

“The guy operating the GPS in the coach box with the computer in front of him can see in real time how hard his heart is working and they’ve gotten it down to such a science they can say he’s gotta get into the next one up to two minutes out or he goes flatline.

“You can get it so accurate now. They just sit there and monitor his numbers and the moment he starts blushing they pick him up and then they let him rest and put him back on. Today it is an exact science.”

Anasta noted a crucial missed tackle from Smith in the New Zealand World Cup semi-final loss to the Kangaroos, showing the Roosters need to be careful if their hooker is gassed or they risk breaching their famous defensive wall.

“Brandon Smith really plays to the point of exhaustion,” Anasta said.

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“That’s how he plays. Everything is 100 miles per hour and we saw that in the World Cup.

“At the world championship there was a missed duel. Look how tired he was and that was a big game.

“That’s probably a concern of the Roosters, making sure he’s fresh when he’s on the field and making the right decisions so he can make those tackles.

“That’s probably why they covered him and won’t play him for 80 minutes for most of the year.”

However, Kent believes the Roosters will work to get Smith to nearly 80 minutes over his time at the club because they can’t afford to sign the big bucks in the bank.

“You’re not going to play him for 80 minutes until his body tells you he can,” Kent said.

“But they will work towards it. They will put the work into him to add as many minutes to the minutes each week as possible until he can finally get there because they need him to play more minutes than he did down in Melbourne. Brandon Smith Minutes, Sydney Roosters, Drew Hutchison, Connor Watson, Trent Robinson, Round 1

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