Combined Electrical's Ryan 'Scissors' Smith has retired from NT Thunder and the NT News were there to capture the moment...
Source: NT News
Author: Grey Morris
IT was somehow fitting to watch Territory Thunder ruckman Ryan Smith kick the last goal of his last NEAFL match on Saturday night.
The man dubbed “Scissors’’ by friends and teammates in a stopstart NEAFL career that had its origins back in Thunder’s inaugural season of 2009, has called an end to his representative career.
And while fellow retiree Darren Ewing took most of the accolades last week when announcing his magnificent 780-goal career would finish at the end of this season, Smith can also walk off into the sunset with his head held high.
The 31-year-old was never one to chase the headlines, preferring to do his job and help out where necessary, as he told this writer way back in the 2011 NEAFL season.
That was the campaign when Thunder crashed their own way into and through the headlines when they beat Morningside by 16 goals in the first NEAFL Grand Final.
It was also the year Smith combined with Centralian and former Norwood ruckman Kenrick Tyrell to give the NT a powerful ruck division that fed midfield stars and speedsters like Jake Dignan, Andrew McLeod, Cameron Ilett and Ross Tungatalum with a constant supply of the red and yellow football.
Seven years and 66 games later Smith told his teammates at a prematch function last week the Southport game would be his last.
Watching Smith’s No. 18 jumper go around from a very empty media box on Saturday night, this writer was reminded again of the sacrifice and almost hiding to nothing the Thunder players go through to pull on the black, white and ochre jumper.
Small crowds, high expectations from those looking on from afar or reading the NT News the following day for match results and plenty of questions on what Thunder represents, does not make it easy for the players when they run out on matchdays.
But in the end it was all about his teammates for Smith, a 196cm giant in Territory terms when searching for a big man, but a midget in terms of some of the bigger men he has had to face in the often underestimated and fast improving NEAFL competition.
An electrician by trade, “Smithy’’ did not need a lot of motivation to give himself some added spark when it was needed, often referring to the spoiled players on AFL club lists as an example of what hard work and commitment was definitely not.
He told this writer more than once his opposing ruckmen on AFL reserves lists like the Gold Coast, GWS Giants, Brisbane and Sydney never really had to work for a living.
They were bigger than him, well groomed and brought up to fitness levels Smithy usually achieved by digging trenches to fit electrical cables he was laying to accommodate an industrial complex or a suburban home.
A true competitor who never threw in the towel against the 200plus centimetre giants he played against in the time he wore a Thunder jumper, Ryan Smith had the last say on his career when he booted the 24th goal of his career after the siren on Saturday.
There was a time in the third quarter when the two retiring warhorses combined for a goal, Ewing’s long punt into the goalsquare marked and converted by Smith.
It was a reminder of how good Thunder were when Boof Ewing and Scissors Smith were at their peak in a golden era for Territory football.