WESTERN Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith will miss the 2024 season after injuring his ACL at training.
Smith suffered the injury on Wednesday in a devastating setback for the talented 23-year-old.
The No.7 pick in the 2018 AFL Draft, Smith had made an impressive start to pre-season, winning the Bulldogs' 2km time trial last month.
"We're all extremely disappointed for Bailey, and empathise with him greatly," Bulldogs executive director of football Chris Grant said.
"The entire club will rally around him during this difficult time, as he begins his rehab journey."
Smith, who has played 103 AFL games, is out of contract at the end of 2024.
He averaged 23.5 disposals, 3.5 tackles and 3.5 clearances in 2023, although he was slightly below the form he showed a year prior.
The Bulldogs missed the finals in 2023 after finishing with a 12-11 win-loss record, failing to reach September for the first time since 2018.
They did add to their midfield during the off-season, bringing in James Harmes from Melbourne and taking Tasmanian Ryley Sanders with pick No.6 in the draft.