'Unbelievable' Smith inspires AFL Bulldogs

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In an AFL grand final brimming with marquee names and match winners, a 20-year-old social media superstar might just be the one to steal the show.

The hype surrounding Western Bulldogs wunderkind Bailey Smith continues to grow before Saturday's premiership decider against Melbourne.

And far from shying away from the spotlight, Smith seems to thrive on it.

The mullet-wearing midfielder, who has amassed an enormous following on social media, has so far risen to the occasion of finals football in magnificent fashion.

Smith booted three goals from 27 disposals in the Dogs' semi-final win over the Brisbane Lions.

In the preliminary final against Port Adelaide he went a step better, snaring four majors from 23 touches.

It's enough to vault him into the handful of stars towards whom the television cameras at Optus Stadium will gravitate: Max Gawn, Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver on one side, Marcus Bontempelli, Aaron Naughton and Smith on the other.

Bulldogs wingman Lachie Hunter, who played in the Dogs' winning grand final side in 2016 at age 22, can only marvel at his young teammate's coolness under pressure.

"It can be incredibly daunting as a 20-year-old coming into these kind of games. You're just probably hoping to blend in and be how you were through the year," he said.

"But he seems to have taken his game to new levels and in those moments where we've needed a matchwinner, he's bobbed up which is pretty impressive for a 20-year-old."

Smith notably marked a late semi-final goal against the Lions by emulating NBA player D'Angelo Russell, pointing a finger to his arm to signal the ice in his veins.

It was a fitting celebration for a brilliant left-foot effort from the boundary that put the Dogs ahead by a goal in the dying minutes.

"He's got a really good understanding of the moment," Hunter said.

"He doesn't shy away from when those big moments come in games. And that's something that's unbelievable as a 20-year-old.

"He seems to know when someone needs to lift or we need some kind of effort to pick us up.

"Normally you look at your most experienced players in that moment but for a kid to be doing it at 20 years of age, it's going to be good to watch for a long time."

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