Mercury (Hobart)


Bulldogs finals sensation needs muzzling


HAWTHORN premiershi­p star Jordan Lewis says Melbourne must physically test brilliant Western Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith to ensure he does not take the Grand Final away from the Demons.

And Lewis says young Demons star Kysaiah Pickett can have a similar influence to 2008 premiershi­p teammate Cyril Rioli in that shock upset of Geelong.

Lewis, now a Fox Footy special comments expert, believes Melbourne’s midfield strength can eventually wear down the Dogs, but cannot wait for an all-out centre square battle.

Smith (pictured) is the only player capable of catching Jackson Macrae in voting for the Gary Ayres player of the finals. He is the only player since Champion Data started recording statistics in 1999 to average over 20 disposals, 500 metres gained, five inside 50s and 2.5 goals across an entire finals series.

“I would come with a physical presence against Smith,” said Lewis, who finished his career with Melbourne.

“He has had a fantastic finals series but he hasn’t been physically tested. He is still young and inexperien­ced so that might be an option. It might be a bit of verbal. It might be getting in his road at every chance, wearing him down.

“He is a fantastic athlete but every moment you have to get in his head, make it hard to get around you, and suck the energy out of you.”

Dogs winger Smith has pushed forward in a significan­t shift this finals series with eight incredible goals, playing 14 per cent wing, 66 per cent forward and 20 per cent pure mid.

So the Demons will have to come up with a plan after he overcame opponent including Andy McGrath, Daniel Rich, Keidean Coleman, Darcy Byrne-Jones and Ryan Burton across September.

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