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All smiles for Smith

BTV: Rd 3 | Smith post-game We spoke to Devon Smith after our round three win over Melbourne.
We got off to a good start, got the belief in the group and I was pretty proud of the boys.”
Devon Smith

Essendon on-baller Devon Smith says reverting to simply having fun was a key catalyst for the side’s sensational 18-point victory over Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night.

The Bombers returned to their dashing, aggressive and instinctive best in the vitally important clash, fighting off every challenge to record the stirring win.

Entering the match off the back of two disappointing losses that lacked at times intensity, Smith said Friday’s impressive result saw the team replicate its terrific form from the back half of 2018.

“We got back to ourselves last year, our 10-and-four (record to finish the year) sort of form and our pressure on the footy,” Smith said post-game.

“(We were) just having fun again; you look around the ground today and there’s a lot of smiles, (we were) not so serious and seeing (the opposition) like cones, we were just playing footy and playing on instinct, it was good.”

MATCH GALLERY

It was a brave performance from the Dons after losing young midfielder Kobe Mutch to an unfortunate hamstring injury just 10 minutes into the contest.

That wasn’t the end of the side’s woes, with Smith facing his own concern in the second quarter, limiting rotations even further.

Smith was forced to take part in a concussion test, forcing him from the ground for 20 minutes, but he passed with flying colours.

He fought on to finish the game with 15 disposals, nine tackles, seven inside 50s and two goals, and he was pleased with his ability to bounce back.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to do that and thankfully I passed the concussion test, there’s some tricky questions in there,” he said.

“I’m happy that I came back and impacted the game.”

Melbourne also entered the game winless, but it was the Bombers who made the biggest statement in the first term, booting six goals to three and scorching the turf in a stark contrast to their sluggish starts in the first two rounds.

Smith said a strong start had been a key focus for the club this week.

“Our backs were definitely against the wall, (it was a) bottom-of-the-table clash and I’m glad we were the ones to get the win.

“We got off to a good start, got the belief in the group and I was pretty proud of the boys.”

 

Smith was an integral part of the on-ball brigade that battled brilliantly against the star-studded Demons midfielders.

“They’re a quality outfit with Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Angus Brayshaw and big Max Gawn, but I think we went in with a nice method and it paid off tonight.

“I’m not too sure what the numbers were, but I think they’ll be pretty good.”

Indeed, they were good. Essendon matched Melbourne with 43 clearances and led the way for contested possessions (162 to 159) and tackles (68 to 59).

Having beaten last year’s preliminary finalist, Smith said the squad will enter next week’s mouth-watering clash with Brisbane with a boost in confidence.

“It’s massive for our group now. Hopefully we’ll get a win next week, be two and two and we’re right back in the mix.” 

The clash with the Lions is set for 2:10pm back at the MCG next Saturday.

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