Smith ready to forgive 'Menace' Ennis
They're two of the most competitive players in the NRL but Knights back-rower Jeremy Smith insists he is looking forward to getting to know the real Michael Ennis as teammates in the World All Stars squad this week.
Smith and Ennis were both late additions to the World All Stars team to take on the Indigenous All Stars at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night and despite playing for eight different teams between them have never played alongside each other.
Smith and Ennis have each played for the Dragons, Knights and Sharks during their careers but never at the same time, their only meetings coming in the heat of battle that often threatened to boil over.
Two devoted fathers, the pair both possess split personalities when it comes to their on and off-field personas and Smith said getting to know someone such as Ennis is one of the great aspects to playing in the World All Stars team.
"I haven't had much to do with Mick Ennis. He's like anyone, he's a competitor and he wants to win," Smith told NRL.com.
"I've had a couple of little clashes with Mick but there are also the boys from England that you wouldn't normally get to play with.
"On the field everyone's in it to win it but off the field they're totally different to what they are on the field. It's just one of those things. They're competitive, they want to win and we're trying to do the same too.
"The experience of hanging around with other sorts of players that you wouldn't normally get to play with is the great part of playing in this team.
"There are Englishmen here, there's Aussies and now we've got Fijians and what-not so just being able to experience how they go about their things and hanging out with them."
Smith made his All Stars debut in last year's clash at Cbus Super Stadium and admitted he was somewhat surprised at just how physical the game was given its place in the pre-season schedule.
Since the inception of the All Stars concept in 2010 the Indigenous team has struggled to find the depth in the forwards that they possess in the backs but Smith said their intent at the start of games was up there with the physicality of an NRL game.
"Probably not intensity-wise but it is pretty physical if you know what I mean," Smith said of comparisons to an NRL game.
"It gets tough at the start of the games with the Indigenous team really trying to rip into you but once you get into the flow of the game you get back into the swing of things and away you go."
As for how coach Wayne Bennett brings such a diverse group together in such a short space of time, 35-year-old Smith revealed what goes on in the players' lounge in between the multitude of commitments that come with All Stars week.
"Everyone is just around one another so you get to hang around with them and just have a laugh," he said.
"I dare say later in the week there will be a few games of table tennis going on and some games of cards."