Stevens ready to take next step

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 03 November 2012 | 14.43

Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney (left) urged recruit Koby Stevens to train hard and put his best foot forward after playing a bit-part role at West Coast. Picture: Getty Images Source: Herald Sun

THERE were a variety of reasons why Koby Stevens left West Coast and one very big one for joining the Western Bulldogs.

The chance to play with one of his best mates from childhood was a no-brainer and one which has made the people at Bairnsdale's Patties Pies factory very happy.

Stevens and Dogs midfielder Clay Smith played junior football together for Lucknow in the East Gippsland Football League.

Their families have been close for years with Stevens' father a manager at the pie factory where both of Smith's parents work.

"We've known each other for 10 years," Stevens said. "Clay and I grew up together and played footy together. He would play in the U/14s and I was playing U/16s but most week's he'd come up and play in the U/16s.

"At Lucknow my old man was the coach and Clay's old man was the runner."

Smith, who was the Dogs first-round pick last year, said the pair spent most weekends together growing up.

"My mum and dad were in a cleaning business and then they got out of it," he said. "They were looking for a job and Koby's dad pretty much got them a job which they've been doing for the last eight or nine years.

"It's pretty exciting how it's all worked out now."

Stevens spent three years at the Eagles and played 11 games but the Bulldogs had kept an eye on his progress and made their move in trade week snaring the 21-year-old in exchange for pick No.44.

"It was a great experience the three years I had there, I had some great coaches and learnt a lot," Stevens said. "I suppose my body over the three years I have got it in good condition that it's AFL ready now.

"There were some pretty good players in my position at West Coast and I was pretty much emergency all through the year which made it tough.

"When I spoke to Macca (Dogs coach Brendan McCartney) he said there was an opportunity here as long as I trained hard and put my best foot forward."

It was a Gippsland Power reunion yesterday with two of Stevens best mates, John Butcher and Campbell Heath, in London with Port Adelaide for the AFL's exhibition match.

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