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Silk ‘one of the greats’: Smith

The stars align for Burgoyne Hear from stars, former players and a certain globe trotting tennis superstar as they pay tribute to Shaun Burgoyne on the eve of his 350th.

Hawthorn Vice-Captain Isaac Smith has labelled premiership teammate Shaun Burgoyne ‘one of the all-time greats’ ahead of his 350th game on Saturday night.

Smith, who’s played alongside Burgoyne since being drafted by the Hawks at the end of 2010, lauded the 35-year-old’s contribution to both the club and the game itself with a career that so far boasts four premierships and an All-Australian selection in 2006.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a lot of great players at Hawthorn…but Shaun’s up there as one of the very best,” Smith told SEN on Tuesday night.

“He’s an absolute star, I think he’ll go down as one of the greatest of all time and one of the greatest indigenous players of all time as well.”

Read: Burgoyne's best five 

One of the game’s most versatile players, Burgoyne has been a match-winner for the Hawks from almost all areas of the ground over the years, but Smith says it’s in the thick of the action that he believes Burgoyne is at his best.

“If I was coaching and I had Shaun Burgoyne in my team I’d probably have him in the guts,” Smith said.

“I think certainly as an onballer his ability to win centre clearances, break games open and kick crucial goals he’s second to none, especially over the last ten to fifteen years.

“His explosiveness from stoppages is up there with the likes of Chris Judd and that over the last decade.”

Smith meanwhile said the Hawks would be looking to improve their efficiency going inside 50 when they come up against the Crows at the MCG on Saturday night as they look to break their way back into the top eight.

“I guess the improvement can probably come in all areas of our game at the moment,” the 29-year-old said.

“But I think probably the one that sticks out is that we’ve had a hell of a lot of inside 50s and we tend to be winning that count every week and by a huge amount but we’re struggling to score,”

“So I think we’ve got a fair bit of improvement there, we’ve been doing a little bit of work on it and hopefully we can start kicking more scores.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs