Brandon Smith 'outstanding' on return to NRL: coach

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has lauded Brandon Smith on his "outstanding" return to the NRL but insists there was no pressure on the hooker to prove a point following his axing.

Robinson dropped Smith for last week's win over Parramatta after he forgot to attend the team's mid-season review, spending the morning out for coffee with his partner instead.

The axing left Smith to fear for his place at the Bondi club long-term, though Robinson said last week his hooker would only be on the outer for one game.

The coach's decision to recall Smith was vindicated the hooker's starring role in the 26-8 defeat of Canterbury on Saturday night.

Smith was a menace out of dummy-half in the first 40 minutes in Gosford and kicked a pinpoint 40/20 that put his side in position to take a 14-4 halftime lead.

Robinson used utility Sandon Smith at hooker for part of the second half, but said he could easily have kept his starting No.9 on the field for more than the 61 minutes he managed.

"(Brandon Smith was) outstanding," Robinson said.

"I felt like Sandon was ready to go but Brandon was ready to keep going, even in the second half there.

"But outstanding defensive pressures and performance there, and then really good rolling of the ruck. I felt like we opened their ruck up the longer that first half went.

"He was really strong on his carries and then obviously a really important (40/20) kick that he can do."

brandon smith 'outstanding' on return to nrl: coach

Roosters rake Brandon Smith tackles Drew Hutchison during the win over the Bulldogs. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Robinson and Smith's Roosters teammates were firm on the hooker when quizzed during his hiatus from the team.

But the coach insisted he had not put the onus on Smith to prove a point on return.

"You always expect your players to play well, that's separate to the field performance," he said.

"You want him to play his best footy. I just wanted him to get back out there and get back into it."

Roosters captain James Tedesco was impressed by Smith's attitude during his time out of the NRL side.

"'Cheese' just wants to play footy and it was hard for him to miss out last week," the fullback said.

"But he didn't kick stones. He worked hard at training when he wasn't playing and he got ready for this week as best as he could.

"It was a great response from him after last week, that's for sure."

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