The Storm will begin their title defense against the Rabbitohs on Thursday, March 11 at AAMI Park, without Vunivalu and with Smith potentially lining up out wide for Craig Bellamy’s side.
The clash will be Smith’s 50th NRL appearance after an impressive 49-game spell with Canterbury before heading south to Victoria.
While the Bulldogs will now be without the flyer’s services, they will gain the elite speed and power of Addo-Carr at this season’s conclusion, leaving Smith with large boots to fill.
— NRL (@NRL) June 28, 2020
‘The Foxx’ burst onto the scene with the Storm in recent years and now sits at the summit of the league’s wingers, a position Smith currently dreams of.
“Down here they breed success,” Smith told The Sydney Morning Herald’s Roy Ward.
“To come down here at this time in my career, it will be massive and my next step in my career, hopefully into international footy but first off I want to be playing first-grade footy and playing in semi-finals and grand finals hopefully.
“I want to follow in those footsteps definitely.”
For now however, Smith will be pairing up with Addo-Carr for the 2021 season and look to bring the same level of tenacity as Vunivalu.
The Fijian international added a great depth of height and vertical skills when placed out wide, an asset Smith prides himself on.
“One of my attributes is catching those high balls and cross-field kicks – I love that. It’s my bread and butter really,” Smith said.
“I believe in myself and think I can fill that hole and do a bit more.”
Smith revealed the peculiar timing of his move to Melbourne meant he would be forced to immediately leave his life in Sydney behind him, heading to Victoria to beat border closures.
“They shut the borders so I had get out of Sydney, I packed a little bag, jumped on the first flight and was in an Airbnb for a week,” Smith said.
“Now I’ve moved in with two players. It’s been tough being away from my family but I have to be strong about it and let everything fall into place.
— NRL (@NRL) September 17, 2020
“This is the best thing for me. I left my car, my clothes. I’ve had to buy heaps of clothes down here but I’m missing my car big time.
“I drive one of the club cars for now so that’s all good.”
Smith featured on 14 occasions for the Bulldogs in 2020, scoring four tries and bringing his career tally to 25.