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Star Crow Brodie Smith slowly comes to grips with place among game's elite

Brodie Smith of the Crows in action during the 2014 AFL Round 22 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Adelaide Crows at Blundstone Arena, Hobart on August 23, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Brodie Smith enjoyed a breakout season with Adelaide, culminating in his first All Australian selection
You've got Gary Ablett walking around ... and we kind of looked at each other and said 'what are we doing here?'
Brodie Smith
DESPITE earning his place in Australia's International Rules side, All Australian Brodie Smith is uncomfortable being regarded as one of the competition's elite.

The cream of the AFL crop will take on Ireland in the Virgin Australia International Rules Series at Patersons Stadium on November 22, with Smith joining teammate Patrick Dangerfield as Adelaide's only representatives.

Smith was selected in the team after a stunning breakout season across the Crows' half-back line, averaging almost 23 possessions and five rebound 50s a game.

Only Gold Coast's Nick Malceski managed more rebound 50s, while playing for the Sydney Swans.

His performances saw him earn his first All Australian stripes, along with teammate Daniel Talia.

Talk between the pair at September's selection dinner revolved largely around their joint discomfort at being presented alongside such esteemed company.

"When me and 'Tarlsy' (Talia) went over for the All Australian dinner I know we were a bit overawed by a few of the names sitting around the table," Smith said.

"You've got Gary Ablett walking around and guys like that, such good players and we kind of looked at each other and said 'what are we doing here?'

"I'm sure once you get over there and start training with the boys and get comfortable in the group it won't take too long to be comfortable.

"I'm just really excited to get over [to Perth] and meet a few of them and try and learn from them."

Smith began pre-season training with Adelaide's first-to-fourth-year players on Wednesday but will train with his International Rules Series teammates next week.

Although it will be his first foray into the hybrid game, he said his background in soccer meant he had adapted well to handling and kicking the round ball.

Like any first-time All Australian, the 22-year-old will be forced to handle increased pressure from opposition sides next year.

He was ready for it, though, having tasted it in the second half of the season.

"This year I had a little bit of that, the second half of the year I got a bit more attention, Brent Reilly was really good – he had a bit of that a couple of years ago," Smith said.

"He helped me through it ... he said just keep the opposition guessing and don't just play it on their terms."