Baptiste to learn off Storm star Smith

Raiders hooker Kurt Baptiste will use his match-up with Melbourne Storm superstar Cameron Smith to test himself against the premier dummy half in the game.

Baptiste wants to steal some tricks from the Kangaroos and Queensland representative's playbook, but insists he won't be overawed during Saturday night's match at AAMI Park.

Baptiste has been impressive in his two games for the Raiders, making the most of a career lifeline after he was unwanted by the Brisbane Broncos at the end of last season.

The 23-year-old has made an impact off the bench in combination with starting hooker Glen Buttriss as he chases a contract for next year.

Baptiste will give away plenty of experience to Smith, but is not intimidated by the challenge.

"It will be privilege to be on the same field as him,'' Baptiste said. "He's obviously the No.1 hooker [in the NRL], but I won't be taking a backward step. If I can learn something off him and how he plays the game, that would be great.''

Baptiste debuted for the Broncos in 2011, but only played five first-grade games in three seasons before and a new contract was not forthcoming.

He accepted a second-tier deal with the Raiders this year and had to wait until the 19-18 loss to the Wests Tigers in round 16 to get his chance.

''I was looking for a lifeline and Canberra gave me the opportunity, which I’m grateful for,'' Baptiste said.

He is letting his manager look after the contract negotiations, but said his preference would be to remain at the Raiders.

"I'm just concentrating on playing football at the moment,'' Baptiste said. "Hopefully I can stay because I've really liked my time here. I'm just trying to improve my game each week and take each game as it comes.''

The Storm has managed the workload of its representative stars.

Smith, Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffman will return to training on Friday, while Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers have been involved with the team during the week.

Storm forward Ryan Hinchcliffe said having the team's Origin contingent back on deck would be a big boost, especially in attack.

''You take your key position players out of any side and they’re going to do it tough at stages,'' Hinchcliffe said. ''Just because those guys are back in the side doesn’t mean everything’s going to change and everything’s going to go back to being perfect, that’s not how it works.

''Having those guys back on deck will give us a bit of consistency in our squad.''

The story Baptiste to learn off Storm star Smith first appeared on Canberra Times.

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