Smith the latest Falcon to soar to great heights
DEVON Smith is one of the latest products from the football "factory" out of Geelong.
The Geelong Falcons, from the elite TAC Cup under-18 competition and under the watchful eye of Mick Turner, has been churning out stars for two decades.
Included are three current captains, Gary Ablett, Luke Hodge, Travis Boak, as well as one stand-in skipper, Patrick Dangerfield, and ex-captains in recently retired pair Jonathan Brown and Nick Maxwell.
Then there's Jordan Lewis, Ben Cunnington, Jack Steven, and a number of Geelong Cats who will be hosted by Smith's GWS Giants tonight, such as Jimmy Bartel.
Smith, who has now played 53 games with the Giants after being drafted in 2011, will be ranked right up there in the top bracket when he hits his peak.
"It is a bit of a factory," Smith, who barracked for the Adelaide Crows growing up and not the Cats, told APN. "It's pretty impressive when you look at it.
"I enjoyed coming through there. It was a great program. And had a few of my best mates come through with me, like Taylor Adams."
Though still only 21, Smith has already become one of the league's more dangerous half-forwards. He's averaged a healthy 21 disposals this season, and kicked 19 goals.
He showed how destructive he can be against St Kilda in round two with five goals and 22 touches, and then against Hawthorn in round 11, gathering 26 possessions and slotting four goals.
Importantly, Smith is often the player who provides the spark for the Giants, usually by bursting into the forward-50m, slotting a goal and geeing up teammates.
"That's who I am," he said.
"You get high on the emotion of the game, that's why I love it."
A down-to-earth country boy, Smith's move to Australia's biggest city was initially a "big change for me, personally, coming from a little town of Lara (on the outskirts of Geelong)".
"I lived on a little acreage down there," he explained.
He has since settled into big-city life well, helped by the fact he can still get out and do some fishing with another country lad, Jeremy Cameron.
After initially bunking with Adams, before he was traded to Collingwood last season, Smith now shares a house with Cameron and Jacob Townsend.
"It was a little bit different having Taylor, who was a clean freak ... Jezza's (Cameron) probably at the opposite end," he said.
While Adams requested a move back to Victoria, Smith, who is out of contract at the end of next season, doesn't have any such plans ... fortunately for GWS. Along with Cameron and Adam Treloar, keeping Smith will be a top priority for the club.
Leading the Giants into a finals series is a top priority for Smith, who has watched Gold Coast's progression to becoming a finals contender, with "great interest".
"The quicker we all get better, the quicker the team will get better," he said.
"We've seen how quickly they (the Suns) have come on and we think we can probably do that next year, if not better."
GIANTS V CATS
Spotless Stadium, 7.40pm
Also: Saints v Dockers, 4.40pm