AS HE prepares to embark on his third season at AFL level, speedy wingman Isaac Smith has his eyes set on becoming one of Hawthorn’s most consistent performers.
Smith burst onto the scene in 2011, when he played 16 matches and kicked 20 goals in his debut season for the Hawks.
He made a name for himself as a player who loves the big stage with impressive performances throughout the 2011 finals series and, someone who can provide the Hawks with a spark, the x-factor whenever needed.
In 2012, however, the 24 year old’s game was criticised at times, as some described him as contracting the “second year blues”.
The midfielder isn’t getting caught up in the criticism though, instead placing his focus on becoming a reliable role player in what he hopes will be a successful Hawthorn side.
“I want to cement myself as a consistent senior performer. If I can get in there and play consistently well and do my job for the team that’d be good,” Smith told hawthornfc.com.au
“It was a bit quiet (in 2012) but I played a bit more of a team role than I did perhaps in my first year.
“You take the good with the bad I guess, you’re just happy to play your role as long as you’re winning so it doesn’t really worry me.”
Smith says too, he is working hard this pre-season on improving his game and is committed to improving his skills and knowledge of the game ahead of the 2013 season.
He admits the capacity to learn never stops in the AFL landscape.
“They’re going alright (my skills), I could definitely improve but it’s only January and there’s still a bit of time until the start of the season,” he said.
“I just need to keep improving a little bit each day.
“You can always get better so I guess it is a little bit of a focus but it’s more preparing myself and my skills for the season ahead.
“You’re always learning and the game is forever changing, there’s always space to learn.”
With the Hawks’ opening triangular series matches of the NAB Cup just three weeks away, preparation for the pre-season competition is intensifying at the Ricoh Centre.
Smith says the playing group is in good shape heading into the games against Gold Coast and Brisbane on 23 February.
“We’re looking good and everyone is flying in pre-season as they always do but we’re looking okay, our preparation and training has been good so far and that’ll show in the next month or two when we start playing matches,” he said.
“The boys are starting to get prepared for it.”
Kate Salemme is a member of Hawthorn Football Club's Digital Media team reporting exclusively for hawthornfc.com.au from the Ricoh Centre.