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Brandon Smith's thriving in unusual role but can't name it

Brandon Smith doesn't even know what to call his unusual role at Melbourne.

Lock? Third prop? Middle forward?

The young Kiwi hooker, who will always be second fiddle behind Cameron Smith when it comes to the No.9 jersey until the future Immortal eventually retires, provides cover off the bench in a variety of roles.

Rather than sit back and sulk at having to start a match from the interchange, Smith is enjoying playing a part at the unbeaten Storm and continually learning his craft from his experienced skipper.

Even if that includes filling in an unfamiliar role as lock, or whatever position veteran coach Craig Bellamy asks him to play.

"I don’t even know what a lock is really," Smith said.

"Third prop? I think that's the role I have been playing.

"For now, I am having fun doing whatever I am doing right now.

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"We have got some big boys on our team ... that gives us on the bench a lot of confidence to go out and try and follow in their footsteps."

Smith knows there's lot to take in when you are learning from one of the best players in the history of the NRL and sometimes he sits in awe at the capabilities of his captain.

"It’s not like it’s a secret as everyone knows what he can do, but no one can go out there and do it like he does,” he said.

"You could study his tactics for years and you still wouldn’t be able to pull it off because he made them.

"He started off all that stuff and now all other hookers are trying to be like him."

Smith said it was important for him to learn as much as he can from his captain, but also be able to show his own trademarks as a player.

"He is arguably the greatest player to ever play the game and, in my opinion he is, due to longevity and skill," Smith said.

"Being in the middle for so long takes a toll on the body, but obviously not his.

"I don’t know how I am going to go about trying to be like him. 

"At the same time, I like to play my own game and if I can take bits from his then so be it."

Smith's tenacity and hard tackling out on the field has led to the 22-year-old receiving a whole host of nicknames, with "Bulldog" and "Wombat" some of the monikers attached to the confident Storm youngster in recent times.

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Andrew Johns recently threw another nickname into the mix when the Immortal anointed him the "The Block of Cheese", but Smith is unsure whether that one will stick.

"The block of cheese? I don’t know what it means entirely," Smith said.

"I have never ever seen a piece of cheese on a rugby league field. Maybe it’s because I am cheesy?

“But I will take whatever I can get from Joey Johns.  An Immortal giving me a nickname, what a dream."

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