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“He’s one of the most skilful players I’ve seen": Smith thrilled to welcome back McKenna


Essendon midfielder Devon Smith says he is thrilled to have Conor McKenna back in the Bombers starting line-up.

Speaking on AFL Nation after the Bombers 14-point over North Melbourne, Smith said Irish-born McKenna is one of the most skilled players he has seen play the game.

“I love playing with Conor, he’s a freak,” he said.

“What he can do with the footy and just any ball in general, he’s one of the most skilful players that I’ve seen.

“What I love is that he’s unpredictable in a game. He takes the game on and makes things happen.”

McKenna returned to the Essendon team this week following a turbulent month where he tested positive for COVID-19 and was suspended for a match for breaching the AFL’s protocols.

Smith said it was great for the team to get away together and enjoyed playing in front of a crowd again at Metricon Stadium.

“It’s nice to come up here and we’ve actually got to spend a bit more time with each other,” he said.

“It was nice to have a crowd here tonight, I got a thrill out of that and to get a win is great.”

Smith told AFL Nation commentator Adam Cooney that he was exhausted by the rapid pace of the game in a warmer environment than he was used to.

“I feel as old as you at the moment Coons, I’m ready for bed,” he said.

“We did say to the backs at half time can we slow it down a bit, I’m not sure if we did.

“It might not look that slippery on TV but up here it was warmer than normal, and it was like a bit of soap being thrown around.”

Smith played just seven matches in 2019 following his Best and Fairest season in 2018, and said it was great to get back to playing regular football.

“I’m just really grateful to be able to play at the moment, last year was a tough time for me sitting out and not doing the thing that I loved which was playing footy,” he said.

“Just to be out there and having fun and winning games is a lot more fun than losing.

“I’m enjoying the ride at the moment and trying to set a good example for my teammates.”

Essendon will remain on the Gold Coast and take on the Western Bulldogs next Friday night at Metricon Stadium.

Essendon Devon SMITH Conor MCKENNA

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