Photos of Nick Daicos and Bailey Smith together in New York have left Collingwood fans convinced that the latter is poised to join the Pies. Western Bulldogs star Smith revealed last month that he was heading to the States and would be training with Daicos in a bid to turn around his patchy on-field form.
“Heading off to New York soon so it’ll be good to do a few training sessions over there with Nick Daicos,” Smith told 7NEWS. “That’ll be super fun. Just doing what I can do without overdoing it mate. Enjoying it.
“I think something where we’ve got a lot of room to grow in AFL is appreciating great players as they come along. I love watching his (Daicos) journey and then to be able to work together over this off-season will be amazing. Hopefully, I can have a year like his next year."
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However fans are convinced that the red, white and blue might be the black and white of Collingwood in the not-too distant future. According to leading AFL reporter Jon Ralph, Smith is an "80 per cent chance" to leave the Dogs and become a free agent at the end of 2024.
And Pies fans reckon Daicos and Smith's journey to New York puts them in the box seat to snare the gun midfielder. Photos of the pair in the Big Apple have been circulating on social media, with many believing Daicos is on a recruitment drive.
Naicos is is just showing the future . Welcome to Collingwood Bailey Smith. Just practising for next year
— Bryn Pies (@ThebestOfBryn) December 4, 2023
If Smith goes to the pies he will be the most marketable athlete in Australia at the biggest club. He’s a gun footy player as a bonus for all
— Chris Breezy (@themav77) December 4, 2023
Smith to pies would be a disaster. He’s already popular enough playing for one of the least popular Victorian clubs. Going to the pies and gaining even more popularity leading to more scrutiny would be a recipe for disaster
— The Supercoach Roach (@SupercoachRoach) December 5, 2023
Apparently BSmith is close with all the Daicos family. If he feels unloved at the dogs, he’d be welcome at the Pies
— LieDen (@bramax1967) December 4, 2023
Have a gut feeling he’ll request a trade to the pies in the foreseeable future
— Rafa ➡️ flagpies 🏆🤍🖤 (@RalphPenna) December 4, 2023
I think he will also, hopefully after that Lippa and smith can talk jamarra over also, dogs got too many talls and cannot afford to pay them all big contracts 🤔
— Brenton Rossiter (@BrentonRossiter) December 4, 2023
Where will Bailey Smith be playing in the AFL in 2025?
Smith has played down suggestions he wants out of the Bulldogs, saying he is “very committed” to the club for next season. “I just want to keep fuelling the fire there. I just want to go all the way, so the red, white and blue is the best place to do it,” he previously told 7News.
Ralph reported that Smith's future at the Bulldogs relies on him improving in 2024. "The onus is on Smith to work his butt off to improve his kicking and on-ball craft so (coach) Luke Beveridge simply has to give him more centre bounce opportunities," Ralph said. “Then he can either stay on a significant deal or explore the market at the end of 2024."
Speaking on the Tradies Podcast, AFL journalists Mitch Cleary and Sam McClure said Collingwood, Essendon and Geelong are leading the race to secure Smith's services. “Geelong would be the most obvious fit," Cleary said. "Their midfield with (Patrick) Dangerfield, (Cam) Guthrie and their age demographic."
Kane Cornes also said Smith would fit in well at Geelong. “I think Geelong is the right home for him, they’ve taken a risk on players like Tyson Stengle with really good results," the Port Adelaide champion said. "He’s a hard worker and I think he fits in perfectly (at Geelong)."
But Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains previously played down speculation that Smith could be on the outer, saying he's a "required player". Caroline Wilson said the Dogs have grown frustrated with Smith considering he's on big money but hasn't been justifying it on the field. “There is huge frustration with him, he’s on a huge amount of money, he’s clearly a very high maintenance player, there’s several clubs looking at him, Collingwood and Hawthorn as well as Geelong," Wilson said.
Smith's lacklustre form has led to a reduction in game time in 2022. Captain Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore, Adam Treloar and Jack Macrae were all preferred over him.
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