Mozer and Smith comparisons are ‘unfair’, Broncos warn

Joel Gould |

The Broncos hope Blake Mozer forges his own path in the NRL and Cameron Smith comparisons end.
The Broncos hope Blake Mozer forges his own path in the NRL and Cameron Smith comparisons end.

The playing style of 19-year-old Brisbane hooker Blake Mozer has been compared often in his short career to  Cameron Smith, but Broncos assistant coach Matt Ballin says it is an unfair comparison that is wide of the mark.

Three years ago the contract of the former Queensland U19s rake was extended by the club until the end of 2025, when he was yet to play an NRL game.

Mozer, who made his first grade debut last year, will play No.9 in Brisbane’s trial game against Wynnum-Manly on Saturday night.

Mozer will be vying with Tyson Smoothy and Cory Paix for a bench hooker position in the early rounds of the NRL after Billy Walters had his best season as starting hooker in 2023.

Blake Mozer.
Blake Mozer playing in last season’s NRL Pre-Season Challenge for Brisbane against the Cowboys. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The Smith parallels started innocuously enough. In one of his first interviews, Mozer said he idolised the Queensland legend.

Then Mozer’s schoolboy coach said his greatest asset was his rugby league brain, like Smith, and the narrative snowballed.

Ballin, who won two premierships as a hooker at Manly and spent his entire career as the number two Queensland hooker behind Smith, said Mozer needed to find his own way in the NRL without the comparison to one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

“Blake is going really well but I really don’t like it when people compare him to Cameron Smith because Cameron was one of the best players in our game … ever,” Ballin said.

“So I just think that is unfair on Blake when he gets compared to Cameron and the ability he could have.

“Blake has played one game of NRL and has a real bright future ahead of him.”

For the reasons he outlined, Ballin doesn’t complicate his message to Mozer when coaching him.

“I just say to Blakey, ‘be yourself at training and work hard’. That’s as simple as I keep it for him,” Ballin said.

“I tell him, ‘don’t read too many articles about what they are saying about you in the media. Your trajectory will be based on your effort and ability to stay focused on what Blake Mozer does well’.

“We have got a heap of good hookers here at the Broncos. There is a lot of competition and he has a bright future ahead.”

Blake Mozer.
Blake Mozer will press in pre-season to try and earn the starting hooker role with Brisbane. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Walters, who won’t play in the trial, said Mozer and the other hookers were keeping the heat on him.

“Whoever works the hardest and plays the best in trials will probably get first crack,” Walters said.

“It’s been good for Mozer to get a full year in Queensland Cup (for Souths-Logan) and playing against men. He’s only young. He’s still got a lot to learn but he’s looking very promising.”

The Broncos will unleash giant props Ben Te Kura and Xavier Willison in the Wynnum trial while winger Deine Mariner, a candidate for a round-one NRL starting spot, will also play.