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It's not every day the NRL's all-time most-capped player Cameron Smith gets disappointed when a rising No.9 wants to accept an offer from another club after running out of patience.

But the relationship between Billy Walters – the 26-year-old son of Smith's former Queensland coach Kevin Walters – and the veteran rake dates back to more than just a Storm stint.

With Smith running out for Queensland on 43 occasions during his representative career, Walters senior was an assistant coach to the champion hooker from 2006 before taking on the top job a decade later.

Billy was coming through the junior systems while often appearing around the Origin sheds and at training sessions with Queensland's biggest stars.

"It's probably something I took for granted but it's not every day you can say your old man coaches Queensland in State of Origin," Walters told NRL.com.

"There's been plenty of times I've been in and around the team as a fan. Dad's been really good for me growing up as a junior and has helped in any way he could.

"When I moved to Melbourne, though, he took a step back and allowed for the coaches down there to do their thing and supported me as a father figure rather than another coach."

Farah backs Walters to slot in at hooker

It's part of the reason why the Walters clan was reluctant for Billy to move on from the heavyweight Storm organisation that continues to produce budding talent.

Brodie Croft's mooted departure to Brisbane may have changed Walters's situation but he already had one foot out the door – a pitch from Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire eventually sealing the deal.

"Dad was in the same boat as me knowing how good Melbourne was but he felt we needed to chase more of an opportunity with consistent first grade elsewhere," Walters said.

"He was keen on me to jump at the chance to join the Tigers and Cameron was pretty good about it when we spoke.

"I told him the opportunity was there and he was a bit disappointed because he thought there would be more game time available for me this year.

"But he knows the rugby league career isn't long and I wasn't getting any younger."

Walters said finishing his Storm stint with an NRL debut also helped his move north be filled with confidence.

He started in the halves against St George Illawarra in round 16 last year in an emotional night for his family and club.

"No disrespect to any other club but if you make your debut at the Melbourne Storm you know you're doing something right," Walters said.

"They don't just hand out their jerseys. You know you really earned it. It was difficult to leave but I needed to chase the opportunity and getting a couple of games under my belt helped make the call."

When Walters runs on to the field for the Wests Tigers on Sunday evening, they'll be familiar colours after a five-year stint with the Easts Tigers in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup.

Dragons v Wests Tigers - Round 1

But the logo, playing strip and overall quality and meaning of the game won't be the same.

He'll also be in the No.9 jersey – a role he has experience in and an opportunity he's willing to take with both hands after starring in the pre-season fixtures. 

"I had played a lot of dummy-half but not in the last couple of years so I had to focus on learning to play dummy-half again," he said.

"In Melbourne I played a couple of games here or there but it was mostly at seven. I worked with the coaches on my attack and defence because it's very different in many aspects. 

"I know Josh [Reynolds] played well in the trials and it's been a good fight for the jersey there. We've made a lot of good signings and I think we're going to ruffle a few feathers this year."