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  1. #1
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    Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    There might have never been — or will ever be — an AFL draft prospect like Bailey Smith. For so many reasons.




    From his gruelling twice-daily training program and fastidious counting of his daily calorie and macronutrient intake, to his strict — almost rigid — use of time and unique family links to some of the AFL’s biggest names. There are so many angles to Smith’s journey you could unpack. And we will.
    But what stands out when talking to this engaging young man is amid his insanely impressive off-field discipline lies a deep, infectious love for footy and a clear desperation to play at the highest level.

    For Smith, being drafted to an AFL club — which should occur within the first 10 picks of Thursday night’s national draft — is more than a dream come to true. It’s a blatant obsession.

    “I remember nights just sitting up watching the draft combine highlights from years gone by and I’d get quite emotional — I’m not even taking the piss,” he told foxfooty.com.au.

    “I used to get so absorbed into this thought of: ‘If this became a reality, how good would it be?’
    “I didn’t choose football to get drafted, I chose to play football because I loved it. Then to hopefully get paid to do it would be surreal.”

    Compared to his peers in this year’s draft class, the gun on-baller thinks about footy on another level.

    Take his analysis, for instance, of his individual performance in last year’s TAC Cup grand final classic — a discussion that almost turned into an unintentional audition for a TV role in the Fox Footy lab.


    Most watching that grand final will remember that game for Geelong Falcons forward — turned Geelong Cats draftee — Gryan Miers’ mercurial, heroic, match-winning goal haul. Almost none will remember who played on him — a (previously) confident 16-year-old Sandringham Dragons small defender in Smith.

    Yes he finished with a team-high 25 disposals. But when your team loses a grand final by two points and the best player on the ground kicks five of his seven goals on you, you can understand why Smith still holds guilt. It still hurts him to even think about that night to this day.
    “I would really like to have that battle again,” Smith said. “But you have to move on.”

    Still, Smith looked at the tape to see where it all went wrong.

    “Geelong was moving the ball so quickly that night and they were such a fast team in transition. I just needed to keep my head on a swivel and focus on him and the ball at the same time. I always knew where he was, but when the ball wasn’t relative to him, I just needed to be a lot sharper on that,” Smith said.

    “I pushed him goal-side a lot of the time but he still kicked those goals from the boundary, which is tough to stop. I got a fist in there a couple of times, but his hands were just so clean.

    “It certainly taught me that defensive mindset that you do need as a midfielder. Being able to defend as well as attack, running in transition, getting goal-side of your opponent, learning moves that they use to manipulate your body position.

    “It was annoying, but it was one of the best learning experiences I’ll have for life.”

    It’s somewhat scary to think that night made Smith even hungrier to improve and boost his 2018 draft prospects. Because he was already starving.

    His road to the 2018 draft was rebooted in January, taking a ‘holiday’ in Sorrento to undergo a mini boot camp, which saw him cover 72km in seven days and also have a chance kick-to-kick with Hawthorn star and Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell. “I love watching him and how he wants the ball more than anyone else,” Smith said.

    He then starred in Sandringham’s first two TAC Cup games of the season, represented the AFL Academy on the MCG and won Vic Metro’s MVP for his excellent national Under 18 carnival.

    Smith — the great-grandson of Richmond premiership player Leo Merrett, which means he’s in the same family tree as Essendon star Zach Merrett — had surged back in to top-five calculations.
    Unfortunately for the star ball magnet, who wins the ball himself both inside and outside then uses his explosive pace to burst away from stoppages, injury struck just as he was gathering momentum.

    He contracted Achilles Bursitis — an injury where the actual Achilles tendon isn’t damaged but a small sack of fluid between bone and tendon becomes inflamed — which sidelined him for the rest of the season.

    Smith, claims, the injury was caused by the footwear he’d been wearing since 2017.
    “It was frustrating because I’d always worn the same brand,” he said.

    “I got the boots in November then developed this pain in January and played through until July and then I had to stop.

    It was really annoying. I wanted to play a lot more Dragons footy especially, but I only got to play two games. Not being able to wear the Sandy jumper again hurt.”

    Smith, however, quickly found a way to contribute from the bench on game day during the Dragons’ finals series. He worked closely with the club’s bottom-age players, pumping them up or calming them down — whatever worked best for them — as they came on and off the bench. And Smith also worked with the leadership group pre-game, helping set out focuses for the team to perform well in a high-pressure situation.

    It’s this footy camaraderie that has kept Smith more motivated about the game than anything else — a camaraderie he first felt in Year 7 when he was running water for the Xavier College first XVIII team. At the time, Billy Gowers — who was the Western Bulldogs’ leading goalkicker in 2018 — was the team’s pin-up boy — and Smith’s hero.

    “He learnt my name one of those days and from then on he’d always say hi to me. That was probably the most memorable moment, honestly, of my young football journey,” Smith said.
    One day in the same year, Smith came across another footy-mad kid after an East Malvern Knights training session.

    “Do you want to have a kick?” Jack ‘Snags’ Higgins — Richmond’s 2018 cult hero — asked Smith at the time.

    And a friendship was born. Albeit, their definition of friendship — covering anywhere from 10 to 13km in three or four training sessions a week during summer at Gosch’s Paddock — is very different to how others would define it. But Smith wouldn’t change a thing, as it helped develop an extraordinary work ethic.

    “It was draining and so hard, but I’m so thankful for him taking me under his wing … I just wanted to follow him,” Smith said,

    “We created such a good bond because we have such similar interests. We both want to get the best out of our footy and we’re willing to do almost anything for it.”
    And Smith’s not joking when he says “almost anything”.

    His mornings usually start with intense fartlek training sessions that consist of a series of 800m, 400m and 200m sprints. In the afternoon, he’ll do his weights.

    Either side of that, Smith is either studying or cooking. And when we say cooking, we mean serious cooking.

    “If it’s at night time, I’ll make an eye fillet with mash and sauteed greens and red wine jus,” he said with ample confidence.

    Hang on, Bailey. Are you applying for the 2018 AFL draft or the next series of MasterChef?
    “Well I bought Mum a sous vide machine over the summer but she hasn’t used it once,” he said, although not with too much of a smile. This is for real.

    He cooks every meal of his dedicated diet himself so he knows exactly what he’s putting in his body.

    Smith’s go-to breakfast is egg whites, which he eats with either baked beans, toast or spinach. He also loves his green beans and chicken during the day.
    “With a protein bar in between,” he quickly added.

    “It’s probably a bit obsessive, but I’m just trying to see if I’m fuelling my body as well as I can and trying to sustain a long day.

    “If you want to do training in the morning then study during the day then train in the afternoon, you’ve got to have sustainable energy. You’ve got to be fuelling your body in the right way for your brain to function the way you want it to.”

    It’s hard to think of a draftee that has ever been as meticulous with his diet and as ruthless with his individual training program.

    Due to his exhaustive lifestyle, Smith has worked hard on ensuring he receives just as much satisfaction with what he does in his (limited) downtime.

    He cherishes the time he has with his girlfriend, the golf rounds with his grandpa and brother, the trips to Elwood beach with his dad and two family dogs, the (more casual) gym sessions with his close mates.

    “I watch every game of AFL that I can watch because I just love watching it. But also, as I get older I’m trying to find that balance between not being so ‘footy’ all the time and trying to switch off to make it sustainable in the long run,” Smith said.

    “Footy at the end of the day is only a game and there are bigger things like school and family.”
    tarred for Vic Metro during the Under 18 national carnival.
    Sometimes, Smith perhaps gets too good at switching off.

    “I lose my phone all the time. My Mrs gets annoyed because I don’t reply to her, Mum gets pretty annoyed too. I just get distracted in the things I’m doing day to day,” he said.

    Nonetheless, Smith won’t need his phone to find out which AFL club has drafted him, because he’ll be in attendance at Marvel Stadium.

    And if he was overcome with emotion when watching past draft combine videos, who knows how he’ll react on Thursday night.

    LINK



    Last edited by bornadog; 22-11-2018 at 09:47 PM.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Thanks for posting that. Interesting read. Any chance you could up the font size a bit though? Very small text.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by hujsh View Post
    Thanks for posting that. Interesting read. Any chance you could up the font size a bit though? Very small text.
    Is that better?
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Looks the same to be honest

  6. #5
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by hujsh View Post
    Looks the same to be honest
    Funny on my laptop it is quite large

    Maybe go to the link
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  7. #6
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    Funny on my laptop it is quite large

    Maybe go to the link
    I read it okay, just had to zoom in. For reference this is what I see compared to the default size

    Capture.jpg

  8. #7
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    He sounds like a boorish little shit but I wish him well and have high hopes!

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  10. #8
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    From a PC try ctrl +

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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Great read, love having a footy nut.

  12. #10
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Seems a polar opposite to Stringer and a few others

  13. #11
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    He sounds like Daniel Cross.

    From all reports he has more natural talent than Cross, so with the same work ethic he's got to be a good chance of becoming a quality AFL player.
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Kid will be a gun. Remember he was touted as the number 1 or 2 pick early in the year and even midway through the season. Then he did his achilles. Some rate him as the best midfielder in the draft, ahead of Walsh.

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  17. #13
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by Greystache View Post
    He sounds like Daniel Cross.

    From all reports he has more natural talent than Cross, so with the same work ethic he's got to be a good chance of becoming a quality AFL player.
    With just a tiny bit more kicking penetration than Cross too.
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Sounds a lot like Doug Hawkins.
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  19. #15
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    Re: Bailey Smith is a one-of-a-kind prospect who loves his exhaustive lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by merantau View Post
    Sounds a lot like Doug Hawkins.

    Except for the whole "work effort" thing! The Hawk relied on natural ability to make his opponents look silly, he didn't exactly take training seriously.

    I couldn't imagine Doug working out how many calories he was taking on board with the latest Big Mac that he ate!
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    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
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    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I
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