IT hasn't taken Nathan Smith long to make a big impression with the Bathurst Bushrangers across three games of the AFL Central West senior men's season.
Smith goes into this Saturday's second Bathurst derby of the season against the Giants with a haul of 15 goals in the space of just three matches, making him one of the most dangerous forward threats in the competition.
When he came up against the Giants a fortnight ago in the Bushrangers' 124-point win he hit home eight goals in a dominant showing at George Park 2.
Smith said it's been a great start to the season so far, and it's encouraging to know that there's areas where the Bushrangers can still lift in intensity.
"It's been pretty exciting so far. It's been electric stuff from the boys. We've been working hard through the off-season so it's great to see everything come together," he said.
"I think the game against the Giants was closer than it looked, and in terms of improvement there's always more we can do.
"Our set shots the other day were a bit off, we kicked a lot of behinds, so we could have been up for another win but instead we kept Dubbo in it for longer than they should have been in it."
Smith is one of a handful of new recruits for the Bushrangers who have been getting themselves on the scoresheet, along with Hugh Templeton and Josh Connellan.
"I think it's been going great considering how little we've actually played together," Smith said.
"It's my first year at the club and we've also had a lot of uni boys come in. That's creating a great environment and a great vibe around the group.
"I still feel that we're a work in progress and that we're only going to get better and better as we learn what other people are trying to do."
Smith came to Bathurst from Sydney last year and has enjoyed the change from a lifestyle perspective.
He brings some strong goal kicking form from a high level in the city to his new country competition.
Across 15 games in the AFL Sydney Premier Division Reserves competition in 2020 and 2021 he 43 goals for the Pennants Hills Demons.
"I was in Sydney last year until probably around August last year, when we moved up here," he said.
"I had a baby, a little daughter, and we wanted to get a bit closer to my wife's family, who all live out this way. We decided to make the move once the pandemic really rocked Sydney, and it was a lot easier once we were out here."
The biggest hurdle for Smith so far? The arrival of Bathurst's winter weather.
"It's been great change so far, it's just been cold," he laughed.
"There's no better place in the world than Sydney in winter, it's the best season they've got. It's been a bit of a big change in that aspect, but it's been a nice and relaxed lifestyle out this way.
"It certainly beats dealing with Sydney peak hour traffic, I'll tell you that much."
The second Bathurst derby of the senior men's season will get underway from 2.15pm.
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