Friday night treat for Zac Smith. By Peter Blucher.
There’s something pretty special about Friday night footy. Just ask Zac Smith.
Starting in the ruck for Geelong in the blockbuster Round 8 clash with the Adelaide Crows in front of a sell-out Adelaide Oval crowd of 53,141 last weekend, Smith thrived on the big-time atmosphere of his Friday night football debut.
With the football world watching intently, he got the better of highly-regarded Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs to help build a platform for the Cats’ 26-point win.
It wasn’t the biggest crowd of Smith’s career – that was the 74,218 that saw him make his Geelong debut in Round 1 against Hawthorn at the MCG.
But it was the biggest Adelaide Oval crowd for a game involving an interstate side and an occasion to match any in Smith’s 73-game career.
And he rose to the occasion superbly, collecting an equal season-high 15 possessions and a season-high 31 ruck hit-outs for a season-high Champion Data ranking score of 123 points.
With the Cats sitting second on the AFL ladder with a 7-1 win/loss record it’s fair to say the former Gold Coast Suns foundation signing is enjoying phase two of his AFL career.
The 206cm 26-year-old was a standout in Round 8 of the Toyota AFL premiership which didn’t bring a lot of Queensland highlights. In other noteworthy efforts:-
- Dayne Zorko was a rare good news story for the Brisbane Lions against Collingwood at the Gabba, kicking a career-best four goals to go with 19 possessions. This bettered seven previous bags of three goals for the Lions vice-captain. Zorko, with 12 goals in seven games this year, now ranks fourth among Queenslanders behind Charlie Dixon (19), Nick Riewoldt (18) and Kurt Tippett (13).
- Ben Keays, in his third game for the Lions, had a team-high 12 contested possessions and five tackles despite playing primarily forward.
- Adam Oxley had 22 possessions to rank among Collingwood’s best as he maintained his unbeaten record in Queensland. He’s now played twice at the Gabba for two wins over the Lions and once at Metricon Stadium for a win over the Suns.
- Jesse White, fighting to save his career at Collingwood, continued his good form with 15 possessions and three goals. He’s now kicked five goals in the past fortnight.
- Josh Smith completed a happy homecoming for the Pies’ Queensland contingent, collecting 19 possessions in his first outing on home soil.
- Shaun Hampson had one of the more memorable wins of his career when Richmond beat Sydney by one point on a Simon Lloyd goal after the siren at the MCG Saturday night.
And for the statistically minded, Brisbane’s forgettable performance against Collingwood produced only the second scoreless first quarter in the club’s 669-game career. The only other time they gone scoreless to quarter-time was against Fitzroy at Princes Park in Round 21 1993. Nathan Buckley, now coach of Collingwood, was playing with the then Brisbane Bears at the time. They lost by 104 points.