Published by Sam Edmund, 18 August 2018 on news.com.au
DEVON Smith will wake up on Saturday morning as the luckiest man in Melbourne.
He will think back to the night before, the first quarter of the game against Richmond, and thank his lucky stars he missed Kamdyn McIntosh.
Because the Essendon midfielder missed McIntosh with an attempted punch that could have caused untold damage.
Broken jaw? Maybe. Displaced teeth? Possibly.
As it was, Smith’s clenched left fist somehow whistled past McIntosh’s nose before the Richmond utility knew what was happening.
The pair had tangled well off the ball and were wrestling near the 50m line of the city end of the MCG.
After a goal had been kicked and the players were making their way back to the centre, the pair came together again before Smith threw his left hook.
Without being overly-dramatic, it could have been Smith visiting the McIntosh family home next week with a bunch of flowers to say sorry.
To be blunt, what the heck was he thinking?
Andrew Gaff breaking Andrew Brayshaw’s jaw in the incident that rocked the footy world happened all of 12 days earlier.
So much was made of it, but perhaps not enough. Clearly, the message hasn’t gone through because only luck saved Smith from a tribunal date and an enormous suspension.
He will most likely be lighter in the pocket. AFL tribunal guidelines state an “attempt to strike” carries a fine from $1000 to $4000 depending on the player’s record.
This near-miss will only provide further evidence to those who believe the league needs to take a tougher stand on punches of all shapes and sizes.
Smith may well be the recruit of the year. His form in his first season in red and black after crossing from GWS has been one of the highlights of the season.
The No.1 tackler in the game, he’s hardly missed when hunting the opposition.
Luckily for him – and McIntosh – he did this time.