AFL finals 2016: Western Bulldog Clay Smith got leave pass to farewell lost friend

by admin on July 22nd, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Bulldog Clay Smith at training this week. Photo: Darrian TraynorPreliminary final hero Clay Smith got a leave pass from the Bulldogs this week to make a 600-kilometre round trip and deliver a eulogy for his close friend who lost his life in a road accident.
Nanjing Night Net

The entire Western Bulldogs team wore black armbands last weekend in Sydney in a show of support for Smith and to pay their respects after the death of the footballer’s high school prankster mate Dale Walkinshaw.

Smith kicked a match-winning four goals against Greater Western Sydney but was overcome by emotion afterwards and told Fairfax Media how he was grieving for a friend who had been in a coma for five days but lost his fight.

On Tuesday this week Smith travelled to Bairnsdale and back for Walkinshaw’s funeral. Walkinshaw passed away in Darwin but his body was transported to Gippsland, where he and Smith grew up, for the funeral.

​ The pair were such good friends that Smith has Walkinshaw’s initials tattooed on his body, albeit as a result of losing a friendly bet.​

“I went with my partner,” Smith said before Friday’s grand final parade.

“It was a tough day but it was good just to see how many people he touched during his life. His family, his friends, it was a good turn out, and it was good to be able to say goodbye I guess.”

Though Smith could not stay in Bairnsdale long, needing to return to Melbourne to re-set his focus on the Dogs’ historic third tilt at a premiership, he left items put to good use in the days that have followed.

“There was a raffle last night and I think we raised about $60,000 for Dale’s family,” he said.

“It was just great support from a small community that can get around a family.

“Obviously it was a difficult day Tuesday, but I was back here that night and got around the boys and tried to get my mind back on football because that was going to be the best thing for me leading into the weekend.

“It definitely puts things into perspective, but I know Dale would want me being out there on Saturday playing good football.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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