Young Western Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith has impressed so far in 2019, showing glimpses of why the club invested so heavily by using pick seven on him in last year’s draft.
He has received four nominations so far in the AFL Nation MEGT Australia Rookie of the Year race, sitting in second place.
After a delayed start to the pre-season, it was a surprise when Smith was named to debut in Round 1.
He has since justified that selection with his form improving every single week, building as he adjusts to AFL level.
He had eight disposals in Round 1, 13 in Round 2 and 22 the week after, highlighting his improvements.
Smith has steadied in the last three rounds, looking good by foot and putting himself in good positions to win the ball.
The Bulldogs have a star-studded midfield, which allows Smith to stay on the outside and learn the game without a great deal of pressure on his shoulders.
His best game was this weekend against Fremantle. He gathered 23 disposals at 91% efficiency, had seven score involvements, five inside 50s, took five marks and kicked a goal in the loss to the Dockers.