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ALIAS SMITH AND JONES by Whispering Jack

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It was back in the early 1970s that an American television series, "Alias Smith and Jones" about a couple of fugitive con artists on the run in the Wild West, gained a cult following among viewers.

With Melbourne's recent additions to its rookie lists, the time is ripe for a reprise of the Smith/Jones combination at the club that could bring as much entertainment to the fans as did the two likable fugitives in the days of old.

We all know about skipper Nathan Jones who, following the departure of Lynden Dunn to Collingwood, assumes the mantle of the longest running member of the team. Jones was selected for Melbourne in the 2005 AFL National Draft and made his debut against the Western Bulldogs in Round 17, 2006 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and then played the remaining eight games of that season. This means that he is the only current player to take part in a finals game for the club as he was a member of the the team's elimination final victory that year against St Kilda (its last win against them).

Now it seems to me that when the Demons run out against the Saints in next year's opening round, Jones will have the opportunity to count on a Smith or two to partner him in their downfall in much the same way as the Smith and Jones partnership did to the baddies in the days of the Old West.

The first of the Smith boys  is a former basketballer, 20-year-old Joel Smith (191cm and 85kg) who was listed  as a category B rookie player last year and spent 2016 in development with the Casey Scorpions where he played 13 games, mainly in defence. The athletic Smith who is the son of former highflying Demon and Kangaroo Shaun Smith, produced his best form late in the season gaining acclaim for his performance against Williamstown in the VFL Preliminary Final. He is highly thought of at Melbourne and has returned from the off season looking in great shape. While the club won't push him in too soon, it remains a possibility that the former hoop will join his captain for the opening game of 2017 at Etihad Stadium.

Tim Smith - other Smith - arrived at Casey from Upper Ferntree Gully in 2012. The 192cm, 88kg forward kicked 31 goals in 19 games this year to take his career VFL numbers to 91 goals in 80 games for the club. Along with Joel and fellow rookie draftee Declan Keilty, Tim  who is known as "Bull" for his hard attack on the football, played in this year's losing VFL Grand Final where he was among his team's best and booted three goals. He also earned selection in the 2016 VFL Team of the Year. 

Bull has come a long way since he arrived at Casey almost five years ago. Back then, his main strength was his marking but he was inconsistent and appeared very laid back, often drifting out of games for long periods of time. He almost went back to local football at the end of last year but he came back with greater application and the rest is history. Who knows what might happen next - the bull could become a cowboy and join Jones in ending his club's long-running losing streak against the Saints on 25 March and if they do, it will be about time!

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