Blame me, not Smith for Roosters' struggles: Robinson
Trent Robinson says it's unfair to pin the Sydney Roosters' woes on Brandon Smith, saying it's his job to maximise the Kiwi hooker's impact on his side.
Smith's arrival at Bondi was expected to propel the Roosters back into NRL premiership contention, but Robinson's men have begun the year with a 5-5 record and sit in 10th spot ahead of Friday's game with St George Illawarra.
The likes of Braith Anasta and Andrew Johns have also raised concerns about Smith's durability as a No.9.
Smith spent most of his career at the Melbourne Storm as an impact forward or interchange hooker, but Robinson was confident he could bring the best out of the 26-year-old as a dummy-half.
"I think it's unfair, (but) I think the commentary is normal," Robinson said.
"But to put it on individual guys, I think that's more on me to get the collective going.
"It always takes a little bit of time. This is not our first dance when it comes to spine players coming in and not hitting the ground running at the start of the year.
"He was hooker of the year in 2021… and we signed him as one."
Robinson has used Smith from the interchange this season to devastating effect, but has named him to start against the Dragons, with back-up No.9 Jake Turpin on the bench.
The Roosters coach said he wasn't wedded to the idea of manufacturing Smith into an 80-minute hooker if it meant the New Zealander could be at his damaging best.
"He's played consistently sort of 50 to 60 minutes over the course of his career," Robinson said.
"How you are getting towards 80 minutes … it could be a goal, but that's not the goal at the moment.
"It is (about) how do we maximise that 50 to 60 minutes.
"Trying to nail that consistently is probably what we're going to (try to) do over the next month."