Isaac Smith - My Redan Story
Where did you start your career and what are some of your best junior footy memories?
I started playing Under 10s at Temora Kangaroos alongside one of my great mates Luke Breust. Favourite memories would have to be:
1. My Dad coaching the side.
2. Sliding in the wet cricket pitch after a win.
3. Spending all of Saturday watching and playing football with my mates.
Tell us how you came to play at Redan and what were some of your first impressions of the club?
I was living and working in Albury with Kelly Lappin who is the wife of Jason Lappin (who I believe are a part of the Redan family now). Jason had played football with Jake Bridges and mentioned that Redan was a great club and how correct Jason was. So once I got to uni, I went to a training session and decided that it was for me.
Who were some of coaches and teammates who had the biggest influence while you were at Redan?
There were many people around the club who had a great influence on me and not just my football but also developing into an adult.
Jake Bridges, Brendan Peace, Leigh Ryall, Ash Barker, Kieran Murrihy, Gerard Faulkner and Grant Polkinghorne were just some of the many that had an influence.
Aside from the premiership, what were some of the other highlights of your time with the club?
Spending time with the great people from the club whether that was on the weekend or during the week. I loved the connection of the whole club as a whole and that everyone was always welcomed and involved.
You said premiership aside but what a great time that was as well.
At what stage did you first think your dream of playing AFL was a realistic chance?
I always dreamed of playing AFL Football as many kids do. When did the dream feel like it became reality? Not until I played my first VFL game for Box Hill and realised that playing AFL was just out in front of me.
There is a big difference between being on a AFL list and playing AFL Football. I realised the dream of getting the opportunity to play AFL was during the 2010 VFL finals when I was playing for North Ballarat
Did you see it as an advantage or disadvantage being drafted as a 21yo? Do you think the draft age should be increased?
Personally I see it as a massive advantage. I got the opportunity to go to University for three years and also have a year working full time. I feel like if I was drafted at 18 I would of been delisted after one or two seasons.
As you see in many of the top eight teams, the majority of younger players don’t start playing consistent games of AFL football until they are 21 & 22 years of age.
I think lifting the draft age would be fantastic. Teenagers would be able to see the world as a young adults whether that is at University, full-time employment and/or completing a trade.
Than if delisted, this would give them something to fall back on. The biggest thing being for the AFL, if they decided to lift the draft age is, would you lose some of the talent to other things in life or even other sports? I believe that this would weed out who is serious about being and AFL footballer and the rest.
What was the biggest adjustment you needed to make when you landed at Hawthorn?
The lifestyle of a University student compared to an Elite Sportsman are worlds apart. This being things like diet, sleep, dedication etc.
What it is like playing for Alistair Clarkson?
Clarko is one of the greatest coaches to coach in the AFL and I’m very lucky to be able to play in a team that he coaches. Clarko is a great person and very loyal to his players, giving them the confidence to play great football.
What did it feel like to run out there for your first game of AFL and then your first AFL Grand Final?
Very similar feelings, as in both you are not quite sure watch to expect. The overwhelming feeling was of pure excitement, this being because in both I was able to make a dream that I had harboured for many years to become reality.
Can you split any of your premierships as the most special?
I don’t think you can split any of them, they are all special in their own way, just like winning a Premiership for Redan was and also North Ballarat.
Who do you think is the fastest player in the AFL with the ball in hand and the quickest chase down tackler?
I think that in both these cases that Cyril Rioli would have to go close. Paul Puopolo is an unbelievable chase down tackler.
What is the best thing about being an AFL Footballer?
Getting to run out in front of thousands of fans each and every week. Knowing that if you win you can make their week as well.
The other thing is that I get to work with 50 of my best mates every day and we are all doing something we love.
What would be your best piece of advice for the junior players at Redan?
What my Dad use to always say to me and still does before I play a game. That is “HAVE FUN”.
Life is too short not to be having FUN.