NZ Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith has revealed the most emotional moment of his league career and paid tribute to his parents for their support through some troublesome years.
A tearful Smith describes his international debut for New Zealand in their 26-24 upset win over Australia as a moment he won't ever forget.
"My debut was a very, very emotional game," Smith told Fox League. "I just never thought that was possible.
"I'd played like 46 minutes of hooker that year and then I got named as the starting dummy half for the Kiwis team.
"It doesn't sound real, like Madge's belief in the New Zealand team. He wanted winners in his team and we were winners obviously.
"Then I went and played in front of my family and friends - it was very special.
"We got the win over Australia, which was absolutely crazy. Like I said, that was a full dream and I didn't believe it for a long time after the game."
Smith, 26, moved from Waiheke Island to Townsville as a teen, playing for North Queensland Cowboys in the youth grades for two seasons.
After he was arrested for his involvement in a fight at a party, he had his contract torn up, before being re-signed just six months later, after his performances in the Mal Meninga Cup.
But his move to the Storm catapulted his career, as he earned his Kiwis debut in 2018.
Smith reveals the heartwarming moment he shared with his parents after the game.
"Yes, it was very special, I guess, from my old man in particular," he said.
"My mum and my dad worked really hard when I was younger to get me in that position, and I've seen my dad after the game. I think we had a 10-minute hug.
"I'm just glad I've been able to give back to them those sort of memories that they can cherish. I guess they're definitely my No.1 supporters.
"It's sometimes annoying that I have to get like 20 tickets every time we play in Brissy [Brisbane], I'm just glad I get to live out my dream that they wanted me to."
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