by Kate Withers, published by Latrobe Valley Express on July 12th 2018. Featured image by Hayley Mills.
To play 400 games of Australian rules football is a feat so uncommon that it’s reserved for the absolute best.
Just four AFL players have racked up a quadruple century at the top level – Kevin Bartlett, Michael Tuck, Brent Harvey and Dustin Fletcher.
Glen Smith may not have the same renown as that crop of AFL royalty, but for the last two decades he has stuck fat with Boolarra for all 400 of his senior games and has certainly earned his status as a legend of the Mid Gippsland Football League.
Smith made his senior football debut for the Demons’ reserves in 1998 as a 19-year-old and won the first of six best and fairest trophies in just his second season.
Now 39, he said he “isn’t playing the best” – although last year’s best and fairest gong a staggering 19 years after his first would suggest otherwise.
Game 400 came in the reserves against Hill End at the weekend, and while the Demons’ on-field struggles are well documented, the “better days” at the club are not too distant a memory for Smith.
“The game has gone up and down a bit, but a few years ago we made finals and had a pretty good team in those years and that was the best the football has been,” Smith said.
“We had two years undefeated in the reserves and were bundled out in straight sets both years 2010 and 2011 … but those were definitely the better years.”
Boolarra born and bred and a dairy farmer by trade, he has been “really lucky injury-wise” with the exception of some broken ribs a few years back.
“Broken ribs is a normal football thing but my body has held up pretty well on the whole,” he said.
“I keep very fit on the farm but I don’t go to training much to be honest … I haven’t been in two years.”
If not for the gentle coaxing of Boolarra reserves coach and good friend Mark Carnes, Smith would have called time on his career last year.
“I sort of said I’d had enough and said ‘surely we’ve got enough players’, but we were struggling and my mates conned me into going around again,” he said.
“We’re sort of scratching every week at the moment. It’s week by week.”
Wiry, quick and full of smarts, Smith has filled most spots on field at some point in time but has spent the bulk of it through the midfield or, in his twilight years, in a forward pocket.
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Article written by Kate Withers reporting for Latrobe Valley Express. To view original article in full online visit http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/5521816/glen-smith-joins-elite-400-club/?cs=1588
Featured image taken by Hayley Mills, published by Latrobe Valley Express for above mentioned article.
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