Smith takes giant steps
ZAC Smith is a hard man to hide in a crowd and consequently when the Gold Coast recruit returned to holiday in Rockhampton he was quickly noticed.
The towering Smith is tipped to be one of the young AFL players to make a name for himself over the next few years and was snapped up by the new Gold Coast franchise when it began its recruitment drive.
At 19 years of age Smith is not the complete footballer yet, little wonder as he only transferred his allegiance from soccer to AFL a couple of years ago, but his potential was soon recognised.
Brett Fragiacomo, who has since moved to Brisbane in an AFL development role, saw what Smith could offer the sport.
“I owe a lot to him as it was he who took me into AFL,” Smith said.
Smith's height of 205cm, an estimate as the teenager said he was not sure if he was still growing, made him an obvious target for the Australian Football code but to make it in the sport you need a little more than just height in your armoury.
The young player had the basic skills when playing with the Glenmore Bulls but now he is further developing them as a professional footballer.
“It is going really well and I am happy with the way I have played,” he said.
Smith spent the 2009 season in the club's development squad, making the semi-finals with the Gold Coast under-18 team.
“I played all year in the ruck, and not much time at full forward,” he said. Now he is waiting to step up to a level as for the 2010 season as Gold Coast will compete in the tough VFL.
“We will be playing eight of our games in Victoria and 10 in Queensland,” he said.
Smith said the newly formed club was beginning to buzz as it awaited its maiden AFL season in 2011.
“It's definitely taking shape,” Smith said.
The youngster said the professionalism of the team management and recruitment personnel was fantastic, making life at the fledgling football club exciting.
Not that Smith gets much time away from football these days.
“We start our pre-season on November 9,” he said.
Although a full-time footballer, Smith soon starts work in a profession after his return to the Gold Coast.
“I'm starting as a personal trainer, it suits my personality and I'm always at the gym anyway,” he said.
Pumping weights is all a part of Smith's program as he works his way toward the big-time in AFL.
“I'm working hard on my athletic strength,” he confessed.
Smith's upward growth may have fended but he is trying to add a bit of bulk to his frame. “I'm currently 97kg but the club want me to be over the 100kg weight,” he said.
Something Smith is looking forward to is meeting new recruit Karmichael Hunt when he returns to the Coast.
Hunt is expected to line up in the midfield or in a defensive position but at 23 years of age he will have to get used to being a senior player, at least for the time being.
“We have not recruited many older players, there were 15 of us all about 17 years of age,” Smith said.