AFL Rd 4 - Western Bulldogs v Brisbane
BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Bailey Smith of the Bulldogs in action during the 2021 AFL Round 04 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Mars Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith has alerted the club that he will be taking an indefinite break from his duties at the Whitten Oval due to personal reasons.

While the popular Pup will be absent from pre-season training throughout the near future, Marc McGowan of NCA NewsWire has reported Smith will fulfill a fitness program on his own time.

Speaking prior to the Dogs' final session ahead of their Christmas break, club legend and current head of football Chris Grant claimed Smith would be granted as much time as necessary to overcome any obstacles.

“We remain in close contact with Bailey, and we respect and understand his need to spend some time away from the club at the moment,” Grant said.

“With such a short training block before the Christmas break for the AFL squad; we are comfortable to afford Bailey the time he needs.

“We’ll support him throughout, and he’ll return when he is ready."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Bailey Smith of the Bulldogs warms up prior to the 2019 AFL round 01 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium on March 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

The triple All-Australian also expressed that there remained no qualms regarding Smith's fitness or professionalism.

“Bailey has maintained an extremely high level of physical conditioning throughout his entire career, and we’re looking forward to reintegrating him into the program at the appropriate time," Grant added.

Although the finer details of Smith's decision to take time away from the club have not been outlined, the 21-year-old revealed in October that he had previously suffered from mental health strains including anxiety and panic attacks.

While a social media darling on platforms such as Instagram, Smith delineated that there were pitfalls attached to having more than 350,000 followers scrutinising his every move.

“I acknowledge (the attention), I know it’s there, it is the elephant in my brain, but I ignore it as much as I can,” the mulleted midfielder told The Common Chaos podcast.

“The things that ground me each day – I go get my coffee, going to the beach from 10 until 2, my best friends, getting dinner. I focus on what I want to do each day and what I want to get out of myself."

The Sandringham Dragons product then added that off-field fears had acted as the catalyst for his past dips in his mindset and mood.

“I don’t open up that much, because I’m scared of being judged – and it’s just something that’s got to do with me," Smith continued.

“Fear of just being taken advantage of, as well. You can’t just open up to anyone, so I don’t do that, but it’s been so refreshing over the past couple of days just to talk to you guys and not feel alone.

“There are so many people around you wanting this and that from you; it’s so easy to feel empty inside, as dark as that sounds.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 21: Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge talks to Bailey Smith during the round 5 AFL match between Western Bulldogs and Carlton at Marvel Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Despite dissimilar circumstances, fellow Bulldogs Tim English, Aaron Naughton and Caleb Daniel have also been out of action at the Kennel recently after being afforded leave to train interstate ahead of the Christmas period.

The pair of Western Australians and the helmeted South Australian are currently completing training programs in their states of origin after departing Victoria so as to be surrounded by family during the festive period.

Each of Smith and this aforesaid trifecta are all expected to be back under Luke Beveridge's direct guidance in the new year.