There’s a lot of focus on the Adelaide backline in early season SuperCoach discussions. Tom Doedee is one of the most popular midpricers going around as he returns from a knee reconstruction, the consistent Rory Laird is expected to bounce back from a slightly down year, and rookie rebounder Fischer McAsey has his share of admirers. One name that has been largely ignored however, is Brodie Smith. Smith has had a very different career trajectory to most players, as examined by Father Dougal last week, and from a Supercoach perspective that makes him an interesting prospect. I thought it might be worth taking a more in-depth look at Brodie’s career, and how that might translate to his performance in 2020.
Smith was drafted by Adelaide with pick 14 in the 2010 national draft. A local lad from the Woodville-West Torrens club in the SANFL, he was recruited as a rebounding defender with a prodigious kick and the ability to break the lines with run and carry out of the back 50. The first three years of his AFL career were unremarkable. Gradual increase in output was promising, but nothing to get excited about…although in hindsight, the breakout was coming….
Smith played all 22 games in 2014 and was named All Australian on the halfback flank, averaging 23 possessions per game and punching out eight Supercoach tons. He finished 8th among defenders for SC scoring and with the oft-heard promise of “more mid-time” he was a very popular choice in defence for coaches at the start of the 2015 season. The promise actually seemed to be paying off (for once!) when Smith compiled scores of 144 and 117 in his first two games for the year. Unfortunately a head knock towards the end of that second game, as well as a follow-up Riewoldt bump a few weeks later, would have far-reaching ramifications. Smith’s scoring was severely affected and he reached triple figures on only two more occasions, averaging just 76 ppg that year.
He spent the next two seasons slowing rebuilding his form, showing occasional glimpses of that AA level of play when the second major injury curse of his career struck: a ruptured ACL in the finals series in 2017. The requisite 12 month recovery time saw Smith miss most of the 2018 season, but on return in 2019 he produced the second-best numbers of his career and, more importantly, played every game. And it’s deja vu all over again this year, as we get this stunning (albeit grammatically troublesome) news:
As Father Dougal rightly pointed out, Smith is now 28 years of age and probably past what is generally accepted as the prime years of his career BUT Rich, Rampe, Houli and Hurn were all older than that last year – and all finished the year among the top 10 scoring defenders. His superboot makes him a prime candidate for kick-ins if he plays in defence, but on the wing he’s even more dangerous in my opinion, with his ability to launch attacks and slot goals from distance. But the fact remains that Smith has only been Supercoach relevant for one season in his career…
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