Western Bulldogs superstar Bailey Smith has pledged to be the best teammate possible during his year on the sidelines.
Smith has already been ruled out of the 2024 season after tearing his ACL at training last week.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Bailey Smith speaks for first time since devastating injury.
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But the 23-year-old, who said the injury was “frustrating” was back at the club on Monday, less than 24 hours before he goes under the knife.
And he has vowed to be a “good boy” over the off-season to help aide his recovery.
“Do my rehab as well as I can and do all the right things and be good on new years, no drinking etc … just be a good boy and look after it, because I’m really motivated to come back bigger and better,” he said.
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Smith, who said the injury was “frustrating” hopes to inspire teammates by completing boxing and weight sessions at the club.
“As long as I still train, I don’t mind. Hopefully I can inspire a few of the boys who don’t feel it when they get in to train and they see me in a full sweat each day, hopefully that can spur them on a bit, that’s sort of my motivation, is to try and have a positive impact on others,” he said.
Bailey Smith Credit: Channel 7
“It’s only a small part not being able to run out on weekends so as much support as I can be for the group is sort of the goal.”
Smith’s injury adds an extra layer to an already intriguing year ahead.
The gun midfielder will be out of contract at the end of 2024 and has already been linked to a move away from Whitten Oval with Geelong and Hawthorn reportedly in the mix.
Smith has previously put off contract talks with the Dogs, despite having insisted he is “very committed” to staying in red, white and blue.
Smith said he will think about his future once he is in the right “headspace.”
“Once I get training and stuff, that’s when we’ll properly put the mind to it,” he said.
“Right now I’m just going through the motions with the knee and just trying to get in a good headspace and a good space with the knee itself.”
Smith’s loss to the Bulldogs beyond next year would prove a massive blow for the 2021 grand finalists, and not just for his ability on-field.
With almost 350,000 followers on Instagram, he is arguably the most marketable player in the game, and fronted the club’s new sponsorship announcement in October.
He had also made an impressive start to his seventh season, having won the Bulldogs’ 2km time trial last month.
Smith was taken with pick No.7 in the 2018 draft.