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Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge opens up on Bailey Smith’s return to the team after drugs scandal

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge opens up on Bailey Smith’s return to the team after copping ban for drugs scandal that shocked the AFL

  • Bailey Smith is back to training with the Western Bulldogs’ rehab group 
  • Superstar copped two-week ban after damning photos and video emerged 
  • Coach Beveridge said drug scandal has ‘galvanised’ the team 

Bailey Smith has made a ‘contrite and apologetic’ return to the Western Bulldogs following his suspension for using an illicit substance.

The star midfielder was revealed to have used the substance in the off-season following last year’s AFL grand final loss to Melbourne and was handed a two-week ban on top of an earlier suspension for headbutting.

But after taking some time away from the Bulldogs, he has now returned to training with the club and addressed the storm head-on.

Within hours of this damning photo emerging online last week, Smith had confessed to using an illicit drug after the Dogs lost last year’s grand final

Beveridge insisted the scandal has 'galvanised' the team when he spoke up about Smith after Saturday night's win over GWS

Beveridge insisted the scandal has ‘galvanised’ the team when he spoke up about Smith after Saturday night’s win over GWS

‘He trained on Friday with our rehab group and I’ve spoken to him,’ Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said after their 20-point win over Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night.

‘He’s put some things in place to make sure that he’s got balance in his life and that he’s reticent of, or he mitigates, the circumstances where he’s exposed to situations.

‘Not necessarily what’s happened, just, you can imagine the public life of Bailey Smith.

‘He’s just got to continue to be smart and intelligent with what he does away from the club.

‘It’s nothing to do with the actual detection or the social media trial, it’s complicated for him.

Smith - who was seen snorting a substance in a nightclub in a video that came to light soon after the photo of him with white powder - is training with the club's rehab group

Smith – who was seen snorting a substance in a nightclub in a video that came to light soon after the photo of him with white powder – is training with the club’s rehab group

‘We just need to help him with that and get some continuity because obviously we know that when an individual is involved with something untoward then it affects everyone and he knows that.

‘He’s been really contrite and apologetic.’

While Smith has been remorseful since returning to the club, the Bulldogs coach does not believe the events playing out so publicly had an impact on the rest of the club ahead of their crucial clash with arch-rivals GWS.

‘It wasn’t much of a distraction at all. There was a resolve amongst our players and no doubt it can affect you, but it burns energy more than anything,’ Beveridge said.

The star midfielder last played against Geelong (pictured) and won't be back on the field until the Doggies' round 18 clash with St Kilda

The star midfielder last played against Geelong (pictured) and won’t be back on the field until the Doggies’ round 18 clash with St Kilda

‘But credit to our lads, they really galvanised even more.’

After missing the Bulldogs’ match against the Giants, Smith will also be absent from their next three matches against Hawthorn, Brisbane and Sydney as he serves dual suspensions for headbutting Geelong’s Zach Tuohy in round 12 as well as his illicit substance use.

While Smith will be unavailable until the Bulldogs’ round 18 clash with St Kilda, the 21-year-old is expected to maintain conditioning over the next month that will put him in a position to then make an immediate return to the senior team.

‘He’ll just train with us. He’s not injured so he’ll train with the main group,’ Beveridge said.

‘When everyone plays he’ll just do a more significant session just to make sure that he gets a game-like training session, and we’ll try to prepare him for a full game of AFL footy when he’s available again.’

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