AS A 17-year-old, Clem Smith starred against players older than him and made a name for himself as a rampaging, rough and ready-to-rumble small defender.
Smith played at last year's NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and dominated, and was one of only two bottom-aged players selected in the 2013 All Australian team. Even before his draft season – this year – he had achieved plenty.
Returning for WA at this year's carnival, Smith struggled for consistency and gave away 19 free kicks over six games – the most of any player.
However, despite his struggles there Smith managed to play 10 senior games in the WAFL for Perth, where he reined in his aggression and performed well against experienced opposition.
Smith has a game-changing streak, which generally comes through in his brutal attack on the ball and man. He loves the physical side of the game, going out of his way to lay a bump, put on a shepherd or strike some fear into an opponent. He certainly has no such fear himself.
His best footy has come as a rebounding, attacking back pocket. He carries with him a rare presence for a player of his size (177cm, 74kg), and he makes everyone aware that he's around the ball.
He mixes that with great lateral movement, and he won the agility test at last month's combine (8.09 seconds).
Importantly, Smith has performed very well at senior level in the WAFL, managing to hold down a defensive position and offer strong and smart rebounding prowess. His best footy has tended to come when he's presented with a challenge.
There's a question on Smith's fitness, which was underlined by his testing at the combine.
He managed just an 11.12 beep test and ran 12:12 in the three-kilometre time trial, which obviously will need to lift significantly to excel at the next level. His kicking can at times be a little untidy, and his disposal efficiency was 62 per cent at the under-18 championships.
It's been said a hundred times, but it's a comparison too hard to ignore. Smith plays a lot like Byron Pickett in his heyday. He looks for body contact, tucks the ball under an arm and runs away, and has an impact on the contest.
Smith is likely to fit into the 25-45 section of the draft.
A fascinating draft case. Some in Western Australia think Smith is the state's most talented prospect, and he has already proved he can play alongside mature bodies. Build up his endurance and he'll have an impact at the next level.