Season in short:
Unlucky is the word to sum up Clay Smith’s 2014 season, after rupturing the ACL in his right knee for the second time in 12 months.
In positive news for both Smith and the Club, Smith’s signed a contract keeping him at the Bulldogs to the end of the 2016 season.
Smith only managed one senior game in 2014 but will be looking to get back to full fitness and return to the senior line-up in 2015 to add to his career games tally of 31.
What they said:
“We feel we are forming a core group of young players with desirable and sound qualities and Clay signing a contract extension is another step in the right direction for our Club.
“Clay is a ruthless competitor who works extremely hard at his game, and we look forward to him having a long career with us.” – List Manager Jason McCartney
Season in short:
Smith’s second season was punctuated by highs and lows. The tough inside midfielder produced some outstanding efforts, including a 26 disposal, two goal game in an otherwise one-sided affair against West Coast. To complement his already relentless attack on the ball, Smith improved his disposal efficiency from that of his first year, committing fewer clangers and adding a potent goalkicking threat with 10 majors. Unfortunately, an ACL injury to his right knee in round 16 cut short his season. Smith spent most of the Bulldogs’ best and fairest night within the top 10 until the missed games at the end of the season impacted his overall ranking.
Stat that mattered:
The 20-year-old has forged a reputation on being no holds barred when it comes to attacking the footy and his form in his final six games proves just that. Averaging over six tackles per game, the ruthless young pup continued to make a physical impact around the ground. He also finished fifth at the club in average physical pressure acts and ninth in total pressure acts.
What they said:
“His appetite for the contest is second to none, Clay, and that is one of his real strengths. He can create something from nothing which is also a really valuable asset to have, because not everyone can do that. His next step is to now to keep adding that polish to his game.”
- Development Coach Ashley Hansen, round six 2013
As the season progressed he established himself as a regular contributor through the midfield, taking on more responsibility around the clearances and increasing his tackling pressure as he adjusted to the pace of senior football. After the midseason bye Smith played all bar one game in the senior side. In his inaugural season, Smith produced a number of impressive personal bests in his inaugural season including 23 possessions, nine tackles (on multiple occasions), six marks, four goals, six clearances and five inside 50s.
Season By Season
Tough inside left-footer with an insatiable desire to win the ball in the air or on the ground and relentless at the opposition when in possession. Also has the capacity to win contests when outnumbered, which was a feature of his play representing Vic Country in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, at which he won All-Australian honours. Had an excellent year with Gippsland Power, averaging 26.3 disposals, 4.5 clearances and 5.4 tackles.