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Brad Smith was a tough, uncompromising player who was among a long list of stars in the East Perth line up during the late sixties. His relentless, hard at the ball style of play was the perfect foil for the talents of Chadwick, Brown, Tierney, Doncon, and Jackson,  and his work either in defence or in the ruck accommodated other defenders such as McAullay,Atwell, Murray, and Graham.  Smith’s contribution to the Royals in those years has been acknowledged by team mates and opponents alike in past Where Are They Now? stories.  A reliable mark with safe disposal, he was a tradesmen- like player who, despite his relentless approach, played the game fair and square, with the ball the object.   Bradley Smith attracted attention at the age of sixteen, when he was runner up for the Hayward Medal(the fairest and best award for the strong South West League) while playing for Boyanup-Dardanup-Capel. It was before the days of zoning, so recruiters headed South, but the wiley East Perth president Hec Strempel won the day, and Smith lined up with the Royals for the first round of 1966, playing in the key full back position on Subiaco and State player, Kevin Merifield The six foot three Smith didn’t take long to adjust to the tempo of league football, and his versatility soon made him a key player for East Perth.  He made his State debut against South Australia in  June 1968 as a ruck rover, and the following year was at full back in the Adelaide Carnival side. Smith went on to represent Western Australia seven times. In 1972, he was ruck roving when East Perth ended a streak of losing grand finals by accounting for Claremont. The Victorian money was about to hit WA, however, and when North Melbourne recruiting boss Ron Joseph came to town, the no nonsense style of Brad Smith made him a top target.  So it was that Brad wore the blue and white of North Melbourne in season 1974.  He played 24 games with North, under Ron Barassi, and was in the losing combination that lost the 1975 grand final to Richmond.Family matters saw the return of Brad Smith to the East Perth fold in 1976, where he continued in the same vein as he’d left off three seasons previously.  1978 saw him as part of another Royal flag, this time under the coaching of Barry Cable.East Fremantle in the meantime were looking for someone to instill some hardness into their on field endeavours, and Smith was the target. As his career was nearing the inevitable end, at the age of thirty it was an opportunity to take on a new challenge, and Brad Smith crossed to Moss St.The choice of Smith was an inspired one for Old Easts. His no nonsense approach on field transposed smoothly to the coaching message his players received and East Fremantle won a memorable 1979 grand final in front of a record crowd. 1980 became an anti climax, with East Fremantle a shadow of their former selves, and they finished near the bottom. A non- playing mentor the previous season, Smith returned to the field for the final three games of his career.Once again, East Perth beckoned, and he coached the reserves to a premiership, while helping Sunday League side Gosnells to a flag as a player, under the guidance of former East Perth player, Steven “Chooky” Fowles. In 1982 Brad took the reins at Brookton, followed by a stint as coach of Gosnells. Brad Smith played 225 league games in Western Australia, and 24 with North Melbourne, as well as coaching East Fremantle to a premiership and taking part in two with East Perth. In 2006 he was honoured by being selected in East Perth’s Team of the Century, 1945 to 2005.  Asked for the best he’d played with and against, he replied:”Mal Brown and Austin Robertson.”  When we asked Brad what he thought his biggest assets were, he responded jokingly:”My big arse. They couldn’t run around it.” Brad Smith was a player respected by team mates and opposition alike. And that’s as good a recommendation as it gets. 

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