BAIRNSDALE export Clay Smith will make his AFL debut on Sunday when the Western Bulldogs tackle West Coast at Edihad Stadium.
As much as they tried, it was not business as usual for Smiths's parents at the Bairnsdale Patties factory yesterday.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott popped in out of the blue for a photo opportunity and the Smiths' son, Clay, had just received the best news of his life.
After a childhood spent sampling pies and sausage rolls, Smith will make his senior debut in round one.
"We're over the moon to see something come of all the years we've put into the footy," Ray said yesterday.
And the Smiths have had plenty of time to ponder the big moment in office hours.
"Tracey works for me. It's the only time I get to be her boss," Ray chuckled.
The entire Smith family is bound for Etihad Stadium on Sunday to watch Clay step straight into senior football.
He was taken at No.17 in last year's draft, but has been so impressive as a hardened midfielder, the selection seemed inevitable.
The love from the coach Brendan McCartney has been there for all to see.
Still, when the man he calls "Macca" phoned on Monday, Clay was taken aback.
"They've shown some faith in me and put me in ... I'm pumped," he said. "I never would have thought this would happen. It was never a possibility. I just wanted to play a couple of games."
Clay has worked closely with Matthew Boyd and Liam Picken has been his mentor, yet winning the ball has come naturally.
"That's how I've grown up my whole life. I've pretty much always been in and under, putting my head over it ... if you get hurt, you get hurt," Clay said.
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