Summary: Tough and powerful midfielder who collects plenty of the ball.
- Contested ball-winning
- Stoppage work
- Kicking placement and precision
- Work rate and endurance
- Acceleration and versatility
- Intercept marking
- Impact in the forward half inconsistent
- Contested marking
- Heel injury
Bailey Smith is arguably the most complete midfielder out of this year’s draft prospects, combining strength and power with speed, explosiveness and precision. He has drawn comparisons to Trent Cotchin and Jaeger O’Meara. While Sam Walsh is commonly touted as the best midfielder and the likely No.1 pick from the 2018 crop, some regard Smith as better than Walsh due to his superior breakaway acceleration and contested-ball winning. Smith will likely place in the bottom end of the top five picks but it would not be surprising if he places higher.
Smith enjoyed a stellar 2018 draft campaign, but his season was prematurely finished by Achilles bursitis which he carried from the beginning of the year. This will not hinder his chances at draft night, with the young gun already well-deserving of his All-Australian honours as well as his recognition as Vic Metro’s U18 MVP, but may concern clubs looking into 2019.