Could Bailey Be Done with the Bulldogs?

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
24/10/2023
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Reports say that it’s highly like that Bailey Smith moves on from Bulldogs

Could Bailey Smith Depart at the End of 2024? 

News Insights

  • Reports give Bailey Smith an 80% chance of leaving the Bulldogs
  • Smith is one of the most popular AFL players
  • Smith has struggled to find a good role with the Bulldogs as of late
  • Smith is still just 22 years old and has lots of good play ahead of him

Bailey Smith may be tired of waiting for his opportunity to shine. Despite being one of the most marketable players in the Australian Football League (AFL), Smith has been struggling to find his game as he has been pushed out of the lineup thanks to a stacked midfield. This could mean a split between Bailey and the Western Bulldogs. 

At just 22 years old, Bailey is one of the most recognizable players in the AFL. He’s had his struggles, but the real problem is the stacked Bulldogs’ midfield. Stars like Adam Treloar, Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae, and Marcus Bontempelli are taking the lion’s share of the playing time, leaving Smith wanting. 

‘An 80 percent Chance’

Smith’s contract will expire at the end of 2024, and there is an ’80 percent chance’ that he will depart from the club. According to the Herald Sun, “The chances of him moving on are about 80 percent. So, the onus is on Smith to work his butt off to improve his kicking and on-ball craft so (coach) Luke Beveridge simply has to give him more centre-bounce opportunities. Then he can either stay on a significant deal or explore the market at the end of 2024.” 

It has seemed so far that Beveridge wasn’t wrong by moving him to half forward. At the end of the day, Smith needs to prove that he belongs. Until he does so, he will struggle to crack the middle of the lineup. 

So far, Smith has been linked to potential moves to Geelong and Hawthorn. That said, there are reportedly a pair of other clubs, including premiers Collingwood, who are thought to be “neck deep” in pursuing Smith. Rumours have also surfaced that Essendon may be the other club in hot pursuit.

Essendon Contenders? 

Despite making a plethora of moves during the Trade Period, bringing in Jade Gresham, Xavier Duursma, Todd Goldstein, and Ben McKay, it is believed that Essendon still has a “war chest” to spend on a potential marquee recruit like Smith. 

It is speculated that Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains still considers Smith to be a required player. The frustration there is that Smith makes a lot of money, is considered something of a high maintenance player, and is highly sought after by other clubs like the ones mentioned above. 

Still a World of Potential 

The hope from pursuing clubs is that Smith, with ample playing time and opportunities, can bud into the star many believe that he can be. He has played 103 games for the Bulldogs after being taken 7th overall in the 2018 AFL Draft. 

Where Smith’s allegiances lay is uncertain. He has been mum on the subject so far, though his frustration is one of the worst-kept secrets out there. He has struggled with injuries and questions about his overall fitness level but has flashed major potential since winning the Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton medal in 2021.

At the end of the day, Bains and the Bulldogs seem as though they would like to keep Smith in the fold. With a crowded midfield, it seems as though it is entirely on Smith to take the reigns and prove himself when given time. Until then, let the speculation continue about where he may end up after his contract expires.