Bailey Smith's Comeback Is On Track

Bailey Smith’s comeback is on track

The Western Bulldogs superstar is working diligently on his rehab as he prepares his body for a return to the field sooner rather than later. As Smith told MH at the Australian F1 Grand Prix last weekend, being away from footy has only deepened his love of the game

WESTERN BULLDOGS SUPERSTAR Bailey Smith has been one of the AFL’s headline acts over the last couple of seasons. Blessed with an enviable combination of speed and strength, the mulleted midfielder’s electrifying ability to win the contested ball has made him must-watch TV whenever he takes the field.

Sadly, a cruel knee injury suffered during preseason has robbed fans of the chance to see Smith in action this year. The 23-year-old tore his ACL in December and is currently deep in the midst of rehab. Like everything he does, rehab has been a challenge Smith has thrown himself into.

“Initially, it’s a big change to your routine,” says Smith, a campaign face for Ralph Lauren Fragrances, who chatted to MH trackside at the Australian F1 Grand Prix last weekend. “But now I’m a lot more physically able. Started running, boxing, sparring. It’s just something else I can put my energy into, another way I can compete.”

Smith looked set to have an impressive 2024 having won the Bulldog’s 2km time trial, a feat that underscores his athletic gifts and competitive nature. Indeed, reining in his competitive instincts has been the toughest part of rehab for Smith, who whether he’s on the field, in the gym or in the ring only knows one way: flat out.

“[It’s] fighting in a controlled manner,” says Smith, of his sparring sessions. “And just strengthening all over my body. In the gym, flat out every day, doing whatever I can do and cross training every second day. Trying not to do too much is the key. You want to keep the knee happy and healthy.”


Bailey Smith l Image courtesy of Ralph Lauren Fragrances


Smith says boxing has helped in “keeping me sane” as he watches his team, who are 1-1 after two games, compete without him. “It’s hard watching the boys run out,” he says. [I’m] trying to be as involved as I can be. We haven’t had a home game yet so it’s been hard to get super involved, but it’s good to see us compete against the rest of the comp.”

Smith, who will be out of contract at the end of this year, is confident he can work towards a round one comeback and says time away from the game has only deepened his appreciation of what it has given him.

“I’m keen, doing everything I can to come back bigger, better, stronger,” he says. “I think the good thing about this, which, there’s nothing good about an ACL, but it’s certainly made me not take my position for granted. You can get caught up in the stresses, the anxiety and the pressure of it, but to be removed from it like I am now, I really do miss it and I’m really grateful to be able to run out and play the game I love. So I’m doing everything I can to expedite that process, but I think it’s been good in terms of lighting a fire underneath me to be the best footballer I can be.”

Bailey Smith is a campaign face of Ralph Lauren Fragrances


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