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Season Review: Clay Smith

westernbulldogs.com.au reviews Clay Smith's 2017 season.

4:11pm  Sep 22, 2017

Clay pens new deal

Clay Smith and Patrick Lipinski put pen to paper on contract extensions.

8:33am  May 10, 2017

Dog ‘legs’ the key to victory

Another week, and another come from behind Western Bulldogs win on Saturday night.

2:58pm  May 8, 2017

Senior List

14

Clay
Smith

Height
182 cm
DOB
11-05-1993
Weight
83 kg
Debut
2012
Games
2017
8
Career
55
Goals
2017
8
Career
43
2017 AFL Fantasy Points
Total
498
Avg
62
ClaySmith

Player Bio

At a Glance

Junior Clubs: -
Clubs:
-
Debut: Rd 1 2012 (West Coast Eagles)
Recruited from:
Gippsland Power
Brownlow Votes:
-

Player Sponsors

"A" Class Solar Systems
Eiffel Tower Confectionery
River Plumbing & Development Group P/L
Victorian Welding Supplies
Prince Albert Hotel

Clay Smith turned heads in his debut game with a four goal haul and ability to hit contests with pace, and emerge with the ball. From that game, he has lived up to his reputation of being a fierce competitor. Smith was selected with the Bulldogs first round selection (pick 17 overall) in the 2012 AFL Draft.

While injury cruelled his 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons, 2016 saw him return to action, making an immediate impact.

Surving three knee reconstructions, Smith played the last 13 games of the Club's stellar 2016 season, and became a premiership player in the process.

Smith was best on ground in the Club's historic preliminary final win, kicking four goals. Smith had 13 disposals and kicked one goal in the Grand Final victory.

Season By Season

Season in short

Clay Smith is one of the great football stories of 2016.

Returning via the VFL from his third knee reconstruction, Smith reminded all and sundry what he was capable of with a dominant 35 disposal, six inside-50 and seven clearance performance in a win over Geelong at VU Whitten Oval.

Smith was back in the senior side by round 15 and never looked back, his grunt and goal-kicking prowess a key ingredient in the Bulldogs' finals mix.

He kicked four first half goals in a match-winning preliminary finals performance against Greater Western Sydney and laid a record 38 tackles across the Dogs’ four finals, including 11 in the Grand Final against the Swans.

With a full pre-season under his belt, the 23-year-old can only get better.

 

The stat that mattered.

Played 15 straight games in his return season, including two at VFL level.

 

What they said

“It was nice to finish the year and know I’m going to do a pre-season.  I haven’t had that kind of continuity the last three years, so to get 15 games, including the VFL, it’s just good to finish off the year.  I picked the right year not to get injured.

“I’d like to lift the fitness up a little bit, it’s already pretty good, but that, just the skills, the execution a little bit which will come when I do more pre-season training than just running.”

Season in short:

The tough midfielder endured the highs and lows of AFL football in 2015.

Smith returned from his second knee reconstruction, to play for Footscray in round three.

Such was his influence and efforts in the pre-season, Smith got a call up to the senior side after only one VFL game.

He returned in round four against Adelaide, and the impact the 22-year-old has on the group was evident as every teammate got to Smith to congratulate him after his first goal.

After two successful senior games, Smith unfortunately succumbed to a ruptured ACL in round six, and underwent his third knee reconstruction.

 

What they said:

“We saw how much Clay meant to the Club and the group when he got back for those games he played… It means so much and to see him go down again was devastating for the whole group and we just hope Clay does everything he can to get himself back because he’s such an important player, he’s so hard at the footy, he’s so athletic and runs really well.” – Steven King (Western Bulldogs Assistant Coach), September 2015

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.

Stats

By the numbers

  • 2017 Season Average
    Games Played 8
    • Kicks 6.5
    • Handballs 5.0
    • Disposals 11.5
    • Marks 3.0
    • Hit-Outs 0.0
    • Tackles 5.1
    • Goals 1.0
    • AFL Fantasy 62.3

2017 Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 12 Brisbane Lions Rd 5
Handballs 7 West Coast Eagles Rd 8
Disposals 16 Brisbane Lions Rd 5
Marks 5 Brisbane Lions Rd 20
Hit-outs 0 - -
Tackles 15 North Melbourne Rd 4
Goals 4 Richmond Rd 7
AFL Fantasy 85 North Melbourne Rd 4

2017 Season Breakdown

Rd Opponent Result K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
1 Collingwood W 86 - 100 - - - - - - - - - - -
2 Sydney Swans W 110 - 87 - - - - - - - - - - -
3 Fremantle L 89 - 73 - - - - - - - - - - -
4 North Melbourne W 86 - 89 3 5 8 2 0 0 0 15 0 0 85
5 Brisbane Lions W 122 - 90 12 4 16 4 0 1 1 3 1 1 73
6 GWS Giants L 75 - 73 4 6 10 2 0 1 1 2 0 1 37
7 Richmond W 80 - 75 8 7 15 4 0 0 3 4 4 0 81
8 West Coast Eagles L 69 - 61 4 7 11 2 0 0 1 5 0 1 50
9 Geelong Cats L 104 - 81 8 5 13 2 0 1 0 7 2 0 81
10 St Kilda W 90 - 50 - - - - - - - - - - -
12 Sydney Swans L 88 - 42 - - - - - - - - - - -
13 Melbourne L 56 - 113 - - - - - - - - - - -
14 North Melbourne W 107 - 106 - - - - - - - - - - -
15 West Coast Eagles L 80 - 87 - - - - - - - - - - -
16 Adelaide Crows L 104 - 45 5 3 8 3 0 0 2 3 0 1 37
17 Carlton W 62 - 82 - - - - - - - - - - -
18 Gold Coast Suns W 110 - 56 - - - - - - - - - - -
19 Essendon W 127 - 97 - - - - - - - - - - -
20 Brisbane Lions W 89 - 103 8 3 11 5 0 0 2 2 1 1 54
21 GWS Giants L 57 - 105 - - - - - - - - - - -
22 Port Adelaide L 79 - 96 - - - - - - - - - - -
23 Hawthorn L 99 - 90 - - - - - - - - - - -
TOTAL W: 11 - L: 11 52 40 92 24 0 3 10 41 8 5 498

By the numbers

  • Career Average
    Games Played 55
    • Kicks 7.9
    • Handballs 5.9
    • Disposals 13.8
    • Marks 3.0
    • Hit-Outs 0.1
    • Tackles 4.8
    • Goals 0.8
    • AFL Fantasy 66.0

Career Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 16 GWS Giants PF, 2016
Handballs 16 West Coast Eagles W1, 2016
Disposals 26 GWS Giants PF, 2016
Marks 7 St Kilda Rd 9, 2013
Hit-outs 2 Hawthorn Rd 16, 2012
Tackles 15 North Melbourne Rd 4, 2017
Goals 4 Richmond Rd 7, 2017
AFL Fantasy 140 GWS Giants PF, 2016

Career Breakdown

Season Club K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
2017 Western Bulldogs 52 40 92 24 0 3 10 41 8 5 498
2016 Western Bulldogs 100 94 194 43 1 10 17 77 18 11 1004
2015 Western Bulldogs 13 15 28 5 1 2 4 10 1 0 121
2014 Western Bulldogs 8 5 13 1 0 1 0 2 0 1 47
2013 Western Bulldogs 128 84 212 38 1 17 20 61 10 6 934
2012 Western Bulldogs 135 85 220 55 4 12 23 75 6 5 1028

Legend

K
Kicks
H
Handballs
D
Disposals
M
Marks
HO
Hit-outs
FF
Frees For
FA
Frees Against
T
Tackles
G
Goals
B
Behinds
AF
AFL Fantasy points