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Katrina Gill  August 13, 2017 3:49 PM

Smith scores off Bomber blunder Poor kicking proves costly for the Bombers with Brodie Smith snapping his first
AFL 2017 Round 21 - Essendon v Adelaide

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: Brodie Smith of the Crows celebrates kicking a goal during the round 21 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images/AFL Media)

I’m not getting big numbers with the footy, so when I get it I really have to try and make the most of it

Brodie Smith says a defence-first focus has also helped him rediscover his attacking best.

Smith, 25, was a catalyst in Adelaide’s 43-point win over Essendon on Saturday night.

The damaging half-back collected 23 possessions at 83 per cent efficiency, took nine marks and kicked two classy goals.

He took a career-high 10 running bounces on his way to gaining 575 metres – 100 more than the next-best player on the ground.

Smith’s aggressive mindset without the ball was also a highlight.

The long-kicking defender chopped off several Essendon attacks and applied five forceful tackles.

Smith’s performance against the Bombers continued an impressive second half of the season, which has resembled his All-Australian form of 2014.

“I’ve had a pretty consistent month, I guess. It’s been a bit of a focus just to defend first … do those team things and then when I get the ball to try and go back at them (the opposition) pretty hard,” Smith said on Sunday.

“I’m not getting big numbers with the footy, so when I get it I really have to try and make the most of it, take the game on and use my speed and that sort of thing.”

Smith’s second goal, which came in the third quarter, was set-up by captain Taylor Walker,

Walker displayed incredible vision and skill to switch the ball from the boundary back into the corridor, where Smith didn’t have to break stride to take the mark and goal on the run.

“It was a nice kick, wasn’t it?” Smith said of Walker's pass.

“Lairdy (teammate Rory Laird) was pretty flat because he thought it was coming to him and then ‘Tex’ hit me over the top, thankfully.”

Another Adelaide defender, promoted rookie Alex Keath, played the best of his four games at the level.

Keath, 25, showed composure in a back six that was under siege at times.

He took an equal-game high 11 marks and won several one-on-one contests opposed to Essendon’s trio of talls, Joe Daniher, Cale Hooker and James Stewart.

“He (Keath) has slotted in beautifully and played some really good footy,” Smith said.

“Daniher is in really good form and when ‘Keathy’ was on him last night, I think he kept him goalless. For a guy to come in early days and do something like that is pretty impressive.

“We love the way he goes about it. He’s a real professional and just does the team thing.”

Daniher raised eyebrows for jumping on Crow Rory Atkins as he celebrated a goal in the second term.

The Calder Cannons juniors are long-time friends, and Smith said he didn’t have a problem with Daniher’s actions.

“Joey has a bit of fun out there. He’s actually pretty good to play against. He’s got a bit of banter and it’s good to see a guy out there having fun,” Smith said.

“I think because they (Atkins and Daniher) are mates it’s acceptable. If they weren’t, it might be a bit (different). I saw it happen and I knew that they were mates, so I didn’t have too much to say about it.

“‘Rat’ (Atkins) was fine with it as well and had the last laugh in the end.”

Adelaide forward Tom Lynch is also the subject of much banter after running into – and missing – an open goal just before half time. Smith said it was a bit of karma for larrikin Lynch.

“He (Lynch) actually got into ‘Dougy’ before the game because Dougy had a similar miss a couple of years ago. It just so happened that he (Lynch) has done it himself last night!” Smith said.

“He copped it last night. He’ll cop it during the week and I’m sure there will be plenty of vision (of it) in team meetings this week.”

 

 

After withstanding numerous Essendon surges to secure victory and a top-two spot, Adelaide will now prepare to face the red-hot Sydney Swans on Friday night.

Both teams will have a six-day break between games and Smith said recovery would be paramount, especially for the Crows after playing on the firm Etihad Stadium surface.

“It was our first game there (at Etihad Stadium) this season and the way last night was played, it was up and back and the GPS numbers are pretty high,” Smith said.

“We’ll do all the recovery we can and do everything we can before Friday night. The Swans are coming off a six-day break as well, so there are no excuses there.”

Walker (foot) and vice-captain Rory Sloane (knee) came from the ground for assessment at different stages on Saturday night, but both played out the game.

Smith was hopeful the important pair would be fit to tackle the Swans at a jam-packed Adelaide Oval.

“… From all reports he (Sloane) has pulled up well – a lot better than he thought. Obviously, we only played yesterday. They’ll assess him tomorrow and hopefully he gets up for Friday,” he said.

“Tex is a little bit sore. It’s the same thing again, he’ll be assessed. 

"He’ll do heaps of recovery and hopefully he’s good to go Friday as well.”