'Hate it in our sport': AFL great's fury over 'belittling' antics

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Bailey Smith, pictured here after the Western Bulldogs' win over West Coast.
Bailey Smith walks off the field after the Western Bulldogs' win over West Coast. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Dermott Brereton has called out Western Bulldogs young gun Bailey Smith for his "belittling" antics in recent weeks.

Speaking on SEN’s Bob and Andy on Wednesday, the Hawthorn legend pointed to two incidents involving Smith in the last two games.

“Every team has one, but the poster boy for this at the moment – and I adore the way this boy plays (but) I just want him to stop it – is Bailey Smith," Brereton said.

“He had an opponent against the West Coast Eagles who dived headlong to try and stop his snap, Bailey snaps it, goes out of his way to retrace his steps to step over the Eagles player, who’s still lying on the ground thinking ‘woe is me’ … That was determined to be a humiliation of the vanquished.”

Brereton also took exception to the way Smith sparked a melee against North Melbourne when he gave it to Jack Ziebell after he was beaten by Josh Bruce for a mark.

“When (Ziebell) gets beaten by Josh Bruce, who’s on fire, and Bailey comes in and double fists to the chest and makes out ‘we did that to you, cop that’." Brereton said.

"And I’m thinking mate, you’re the bloke who’s actually put it on the ledger ‘I’ve had some mental issues this year, go easy on me, go easy on people with mental health issues’. 

"You can’t ask for some points to be banked up if you’re going to behave like this. It’s just counter-productive to what you are asking for.

“I know they’re two separate issues, but it doesn’t ring through. If I’m on the defeated team and that’s me on the mark, I’m thinking ‘I’m going for you next time’.”

Bailey Smith, pictured here stepping over his opponent to taunt him.
Bailey Smith stepped over his opponent to taunt him. Image: Fox Footy

Dermott Brereton fumes over 'belittling' antics

Brereton said Smith would have been "put in his place" if he was playing in a past era.

“If Gary Ayres got beaten for a mark by somebody and they did that to him, that bloke - maybe not that game, maybe that game, maybe the next game - wouldn’t see the game out," he continued.

“If you’re trying to milk 50, I can kind of understand it. But I don’t think it’s to try and milk 50 anymore. 

"I think there’s a belittlement element of this – and I hate it in our sport."

Retired Western Bulldogs champion Bob Murphy agreed.

“The bit that annoys me about it is I think it’s been tangled up in sledging and the psychological battle,” Murphy said.

“No, sledging is when you’re 0-0, that’s when OK if you’re ballsy enough to say it then.

“But what you’re seeing after a free kick and a shove and someone kicks a goal, that’s just bragging, that’s boasting.”

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