It;s not the size of the Dog in the fight, … it’s the size of the fight in the Dog.
Thats true, but imagine the fight if you were the size of Donnington standing next to Parish
From the HS. I particularly like reading the last bit about Essendon’s pressure rating the last 3 weeks …
From out-of-favour goalsneak to record-breaking pressure king - the rise of Devon Smith
DEVON Smith’s phone started lighting up with messages.
But among last week’s birthday wishes from his former GWS teammates was a bit of old-fashioned banter.
“I hope you’re sore,” some of the texts read.
Yet the irony is it’s Smith’s tackling that is inflicting the soreness.
The Giants didn’t rate Smith highly enough to play him in last year’s finals series, overlooking him for veteran Steve Johnson in the controversial selection choice that encouraged Smith to leave the club.
Seven months later, he has gone from out-of-favour Giants goalsneak to midfield pressure king at Essendon.
Smith is the No.1 pressure player in the competition, averaging 75.3 pressure points a game. What’s more, he is on course to become the best pressure player the game has seen since the stat was first recorded in 2013.
Such has been Smith’s influence at his new club, you could certainly make the argument that he’s ahead of Jarman Impey (Hawthorn), Sam Murray (Collingwood) and Bryce Gibbs (Adelaide) as the recruit of the year among established players to switch sides.
Essendon insiders say he would win the Bombers’ best and fairest if it was held tonight.
Smith has become the rugged heartbeat of an Essendon side that has gone from the hunted to the hunter. After a 2-6 start, the Bombers have responded by beating Geelong and the Giants on the road.
John Worsfold’s sudden prickliness seems to have rubbed off on the rest of his players, who have taken the Bombers from a pressure factor rating of 10th after seven rounds, to No.1 from rounds 8-10.
Essendon is the first team to have recorded a pressure factor of 200+ for three consecutive matches.
When it comes to post clearance pressure - the most difficult given the ball is in general play - Essendon also ranks No.1 over the past three weeks. The fact that four of the last six premiers have also ranked No.1 in this measurement illustrates its importance.
Smith had 21 possessions and 13 tackles in Saturday night’s 35-point over the Giants - the sort of performance for which his old side is screaming. The Giants rank 14th for pressure factor in a game that demands you harass the opposition.
He said the team “have a focus on bringing pressure and tackling”.
“I think I’m leading by example … now it’s the responsibility for me to do it week-in week-out,” Smith said.
The Dons last year gave up pick 11 and a future third round selection for Smith, pick 24 and GWS’ 2018 second round pick.
Smith arrived with a history of persistent knee problems and some doubting whether he had the tank to play in an AFL midfield.
They were the questions. Smith has provided the emphatic answers.
Smith and Orazio Fantasia celebrate another goal against GWS. Pic: Getty Images
PRESSURE POINTS IN A SEASON (2013-18)
Player // Club // Matches // Year // Ave
Devon Smith // Ess // 10 // 2018 // 75.3
Dayne Zorko // Bris // 10 // 2019 // 73.8
Hugh Greenwood // Adel // 10 // 2018 // 66.9
Scott Selwood // Geel // 14 // 2017 // 66.9
Liam Shiels // Haw // 18 // 2016 // 66.8
Rounds 1-7 // Rounds 8-10
Pressure factor - 180 (10th) // 207 (1st)
Post-clearance pressure factor - 164 (9th) // 191 (1st)
Forward-half pressure factor - 171 (10th) // 194 (1st)
Yep Smith is leading by example at the club and seems his team mates are following
We’re coming for you Tigers
That’s all the more impressive considering we were garbage against Carlton. Mind you we kicked a zillion points.
Wish the press would just shut the fk up about this, … until after this weekend anyway, …
Out pressure the pressure kings in Tigers
Oh yeah baby
How do they know Zorko’s 2019 stats?
Now that’s high praise.
Agree, plenty of ammunition for Harwick, lets show those Bomberos who the real pressure kings are etc ect
Grey’s Sports Almanac?
Smith is going along along beautifully, though I reckon we are yet to fully see his outside running and link up play - He can get his metres gained up another 100 metres per game.
Essendon midfielder David Zaharakis has admitted his surprise at how good Devon Smith has been this season.
Smith joined the Bombers from Greater Western Sydney last offseason, and has made his presence known, leading the AFL in tackles and pressure points.
Zaharakis believes those numbers underline Smith’s ability to impact the contest in a defensive manner, something that’s becoming contagious amongst his teammates.
“Dev’s great for us, he sets the tone defensively,” he told SEN Breakfast.
“We always knew watching from afar that he was a competitive player and had that sort of great attitude you want in a player.
“I didn’t know he was this good defensively, I think he leads the AFL in pressure acts and tackles.
SEN Breakfast with Garry Lyon and Tim Watson can be heard Monday-Friday 6-9am, and you can subscribe to the podcast here.
“He sets the tone for us as a footy side and he doesn’t shy away from telling blokes to get in there and do it themselves.
“He also backs it up every week. He was been outstanding for us.”
Along with his defensive proficiency, Smith is also averaging 20.3 disposals, the second-best rate in his career.
GWS must kick themselves every week…
Used to laugh at Carlton needing to bring/buy in a captain to lead the way but this feels kinda similar.
He’s worth pick 11 on its own, let alone for 2 x 2nd rounders back as well which = Stringer
Except this case feel like we’ve accidentally found someone who fits the bill. Disco is probably still scratching his head.
Robbo didn’t think he’d help us defensively. Just let that sink in.