AFL Rd 1 - Collingwood v Western Bulldogs
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Bailey Smith of the Bulldogs is tackled by Jeremy Howe of the Magpies during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Geelong have reportedly contacted the management of contracted Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith as the Kardinia Park club potentially plots a move to acquire the young midfielder.

Smith is signed at the Kennel until the end of 2024, having penned a two-year extension in August last year in a season where the Bulldogs enjoyed a stellar retention window where Jack Macrae, Tim English, Bailey Dale, Caleb Daniel and Jason Johannisen, among others, extended their contracts.

The key loss for Luke Beveridge was best and fairest winner Josh Dunkley, who requested a move to Brisbane at the conclusion of last season.

The busy season of signings has led to a quieter contract space for the Bulldogs this year, however the club will enter next season with Smith, English and key forward Aaron Naughton off-contract.

Both English and Naughton are anticipated to have keen suitors from their home state of Western Australia, and now Smith could join them as a trade target for rivals as early as this year.

According to SEN's Sam Edmund, Geelong are monitoring the 22-year-old and have even touched base with Smith's agent, with their interest in the onballer coming prior to his recent change of role under Beveridge and subsequent battle with form.

Smith has recently been shifted away from the centre square and been deployed in a more attacking role, with the East Malvern junior managing just 11 disposals in last week's encounter against Collingwood.

The Cats have reportedly held internal discussions in regards to Smith's signature and could have competition from fellow rivals if they do emerge as an interested suitor.

"I don't want that to cloud what I'm about to say, which has been fact now for a while, certainly since well before Smith's form dip... that is that Geelong have had meaningful conversations about trading for Bailey Smith," Edmund said, via SEN.

"The Cats are interested in bringing Smith down to GMHBA Stadium and in fact, they've been workshopping it behind the scenes for some time.

Bailey Smith during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

"... Geelong have contacted Smith's management, but I need to say in the last week or so, probably 16 clubs have done the same."

Smith's name was floated as a potential trade option for the Bulldogs to consider given their riches of leading midfielders and Smith's current value and upside.

The concept was rubbished by Beveridge this week, with the premiership coaching standing by his under-fire young gun.

"Speculation around whether or not he should be at another club or not is just disrespectful," Beveridge said at his mid-week press conference.

"We've got a really good track record here with our players and our program."

Smith won't make the trip to Sydney this week to face the Swans due to illness, which is said to have played a part in his impact on last Friday's loss to Collingwood.

The Bulldogs will face Sydney at the SCG on Thursday night at 7:20pm (AEST).