K rock Football

Smith ready to make his mark

Zac Smith in action at Geelong training today. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

ZAC Smith says he has to take his game to another level if he is to compete with the AFL’s best ruckmen.

And the Geelong big man says a focus on improving his marking will be a key in doing that.

Smith has averaged just over two marks a game during his 109-match career, but that fell to less than 1.5 in 2017.

“I think I need to take a few more contested marks each week and that will really help me and the team improve,” he said.

“It’s always good to go forward and be that target but just in general, even around the ground, I think it will really help link up players when we need to bang the ball long.”

“I’ve been good at providing a contest but I just need to pluck a few more, so it’s just as simple as repetition in pre-season.

“Technique is the main one but I am not stressing about it, I’m just looking to improve,”

Smith, who turns 28 in February, still believes his best footy is ahead of him having taken up the game later than most AFL players.

“I was a really late starter to footy and I’m still developing and still improving every year, but I think I’ve done that particularly since I’ve come down to Geelong,” he said.

“So I’ll just be looking to do that this year.

“If I improve the team improves as well so that is the main focus.”

The 206cm big man also hopes to spend more time on the ground in 2018.

“If I can improve my tank a little bit more this pre-season then I can be out there for most of the game and just come off once a quarter and really have an impact,” he said.

“Sometimes if you’ve got two or three guys that can go through there you don’t really get the flow of the game because you’re only in there for five or six minutes, whereas you want to be in there for ten minutes plus at times to really have an impact.”

Smith is also forward to playing again with good mate Gary Ablett.

The pair spent five years together at Gold Coast before Smith found his way to the Cats two years ago.

“It’s good fun, we’ve already had a fair few laughs around the club and he’s just such a good guy to be around,” Smith said.

“He lifts the group up and he’s going to be awesome for the younger guys. He obviously knows what he’s doing so it’s good to have him back

“I never thought I’d be playing with him again, so it’s exciting”

Twitter: @tom_king79