Roosters’ Brandon Smith dropped after ‘rookie mistake’

Jasper Bruce |

Brandon Smith is determined not to err again after being disciplined by the Sydney Roosters.
Brandon Smith is determined not to err again after being disciplined by the Sydney Roosters.

Brandon Smith has been dropped after failing to attend a Sydney Roosters team meeting during their NRL bye week.

Smith missed the Roosters’ mid-season review on June 3, a self-described “rookie mistake” the premiership-winning hooker feared could prompt the club to terminate his lucrative contract.

The sixth-placed Roosters have not yet taken that action, but at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon the club’s coaching staff decided Smith would not play in Saturday’s round-15 clash against Parramatta.

Smith
Brandon Smith says it was a mistake not to check his schedule during the team’s bye week. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

The decision came after the Roosters handed Smith a breach notice last week, frustrated at the latest in a list of indiscretions committed since he arrived from Melbourne in 2023.

In strong form this season, Connor Watson will start at hooker in Smith’s place, having recovered from a throat injury.

Smith addressed the incident publicly for the first time on Tuesday morning, saying he had been out for coffee with his partner and unaware the team would meet during its round-14 bye, having left his phone at home.

“It was dumb by me,” Smith told The Bye Round podcast.

“You check your schedule before you sleep. But I was thinking on a normal game, you go to sleep and you have a day off after a game. 

“Because we had the bye, I was thinking we’re definitely doing it (having a day off). I should’ve checked and I didn’t, and then when I got home (the meeting) was all over.”

Contracted through 2025 after taking up a player option this year, Smith said the breach notice could be considered a formal warning and came with a suspended fine.

But he worried during the bye week there could be more severe repercussions.

“A lot of rumours go up and about because I got a breach. I was starting to think I was going to get sacked myself,” he said.

“It’s a warning but also a fine. I don’t know if I pay anything, it’s suspended. If I get that second breach then I pay that fine, but you don’t want a second breach.

“Not much (more disciplinary action) has really come of it.”

Smith said he was “pretty sad” throughout the bye week and limited his social media time in a bid to snap out of his funk.

“You can cop sprays, but when you get it in an email form it’s a lot harsher,” he said.

“I’m trying to shift my energy away from it because it’s been consuming the whole week of the bye, to be honest.”

Smith has since returned to the team, saying he was the “first one in to training” on Monday.

Roosters teammates managed to laugh off Smith’s mistake, but coach Trent Robinson was less jocular.

Robinson
Roosters teammates teased Smith about his indiscretion, but coach Trent Robinson was not amused. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“The boys were funny, making fun of me,” Smith said.

“Trent was disappointed because it’s quite a rookie mistake. 

“I feel like I let people down, and I don’t like letting people down. It definitely made me want to chill out a little bit and focus on what’s really important.”

AAP