Smith stakes claim for Kangaroos sport - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith stakes claim for Kangaroos sport

By Leonard Siragusa 26/09/2008 11:34:23 PM Comments (0)

Josh Smith has staked his claim to be David Hale's sidekick in North Melbourne's attack in 2009 after a match-winning performance for North Ballarat in the VFL grand final at Telstra Dome.

Smith backed up his four-goal effort in the preliminary final against Werribee with a five-goal haul against Port Melbourne to win the Norm Goss medal for best-afield and help the club to their inaugural VFL premiership.

With Nathan Thompson gone and Corey Jones a good chance to be traded, North will have to re-work their forward line around Hale.

Smith, who was North's No.62 pick in last year's AFL draft, failed to make an impact in his first year, managing just two games for the season.

But he has been impressive for the Roosters this season with 55 goals, culminating in an imposing performance against the Borough.

Smith's clearly beat his opponent Luke Livingston - a former Carlton player - and his ability to take strong contested marks, sometimes with a third man jumping in, proved to be the difference between the two sides.

But he also showed his athleticism for a player who stands at 195cm and weighs 105kg with two goals in the second term.

Smith won a fifty-fifty contest by doing a 360-degree turn to outpoint his opponent and snap a goal.

In another contest, he then edged out Livingston as he led strongly up the ground to take a mark, spun round and blasted a goal from right on 50 metres.

In the last term, he kicked two goals from marks but it could easily have been four.

Young Roo Gavin Urquhart put in an encouraging performance for North Ballarat, with his dash and accurate disposal features to his game.

A third-quarter goal, where he exploded from the contest, showed he was not afraid to take a gamble despite being run-down in the second quarter by Chris Caine, who duly slotted a goal.

North midfielder Andrew Swallow put in a serviceable game and might just have saved himself from being dropped by the club.

But for Eddie Sansbury, his spot on North's list is tenuous at best.

While he won plenty of the ball for North Ballarat, particularly on the defensive side of the contests, he did not use his pace or AFL level of fitness to break the game open.

After playing 40 games in five seasons at North, it appears the club has run out of patience with him.

North's Cruize Garlett did a couple of nice things early in the game but drifted out of the contest.

Six goals to Port's two in the final term gave the Roosters the VFL premiership after a arm-wrestle for much of the game.

It was the fifth grand final loss for Port Melbourne since 1982.

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