Bad knee forces Bairnsdale's Smith out of AFL footy
An East Gippsland boy playing with the Western Bulldogs has announced his retirement from AFL football.
25 year old Clay Smith's career has been cut short, due to persistent knee troubles that have left him on the sidelines all this season.
Originally from Bairnsdale, Smith will retire after playing a key role in the Dogs' 2016 premiership.
Over the seven years Smith played 55 games and kicked 43 goals for the Club.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to retire at my age, but the right one to make given my knee hasn’t been able to fully recover,” Smith said.
“I’ve given everything to try to make it back this season, but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out the way I would’ve liked.
“I want to thank everyone at the Western Bulldogs for their support over my career, and especially the medical staff, physios and strength and rehab staff for their care and professionalism.
“It’s been a difficult road for me, but I was able to experience being in the premiership team and I wouldn’t swap that for anything.
“I’ve also met some great people, made some incredible friendships, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play AFL football.
“While life without footy will leave a big hole in my life, it has shaped me as a person and helped me grow and I’m thankful for that.”
Smith was recruited to the Bulldogs with pick 17 in the 2011 National Draft from Gippsland Power and burst onto the scene in Round 1 the following year with a four-goal debut against West Coast.