Suspension won't set Smith back: Beveridge

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

As the Western Bulldogs brace for potentially a month without Bailey Smith, coach Luke Beveridge is confident the star midfielder won't be set back long-term by a likely AFL suspension.

Smith was interviewed by the AFL on Tuesday after being caught on video with illicit substances last year.

The video and images emerged last week, with Smith later apologising for "indulging in behaviours in late 2021 of which I am deeply ashamed".

The 21-year-old is currently serving a two-week suspension for headbutting an opponent and is likely to receive another two-game ban for "conduct unbecoming".

St Kilda's Brad Crouch received a two-week ban when he and then-Adelaide teammate Tyson Stengle were caught with illicit drugs in September 2020.

A two-week ban would rule Smith out of games against Brisbane and Sydney, on top of the GWS and Hawthorn clashes he is already suspended for.

Beveridge believed Smith, who enjoyed a stellar start to the season, would be able to quickly bounce back upon his AFL return, regardless of whether he took time away or stayed with the Bulldogs' training group throughout his suspension.

"Based on history, Bailey values his football future too much. It's part of his identity. So he definitely won't let himself go," Beveridge told reporters on Wednesday.

"We're in constant communication with him on what he can do away from the club. He'll be fine.

"As we know, he's got to serve the two-week suspension as it is.

"So I've got no doubt that by the time that Bailey's available to play, whatever happens from this route with this current adjudication, that he'll be fit and ready to go. I've got no concerns about that at all."

Beveridge was loath to comment on what Smith's sanction should be but hoped for a quick decision from the AFL.

Smith is set to return to Whitten Oval on Friday.

"Obviously we're waiting for the AFL's ruling on that," Beveridge said.

"So the uncertainty hopefully doesn't last too long and we hear sooner rather than later.

"First time he'll be back in is on Friday and we'll work from there.

"I haven't spoken to him (since the AFL interview), just giving him his space and some peace.

"But I couldn't tell you how it went because it's obviously pretty sensitive and the AFL have got to make a concerted decision that's the best for everyone really, for the game as much as Bailey and the future."

On Monday, Beveridge called for the AFL illicit drugs policy to be scrapped, querying the value of the three-strike system

But he was unwilling to add to those comments on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs return to action against rivals GWS on Saturday but Beveridge didn't think the turbulent week would affect his charges.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting