While many of his teammates will be playing in their fourth Grand Final this weekend, Lindsay Smith will be running out in his first.
The 23-year-old couldn’t contain his excitement when the Weekender caught up with him on Tuesday afternoon following an Open Training Session that saw thousands of Panthers fans turn out to watch their team go through their paces ahead of Sunday’s big game.
“It’s obviously exciting,” he said.
“After the game against Melbourne, all I could think about was enjoying the week. These don’t come around in everyone’s career very often, so I’m just trying to enjoy it and really take it all in this week.”
After playing a handful of games since debuting in 2021, Smith enjoyed a breakout year this season, playing 22 games in a starring role off the bench.
The St Marys junior said it’s always been his dream to play on rugby league’s grandest day in front of his family and friends.
“You dream about playing on the big stage – whether it’s the NRL or State of Origin – you dream about it since you were a kid,” Smith said.
“Playing in front of a full house on Sunday at Accor Stadium, it’s definitely something I’ve thought about and dreamt about.
“I have a few people going on Sunday – family, parents, brothers, my partner and her family – it will be pretty exciting and special.”
If Smith and his Panthers teammates are able to secure the NRL’s biggest prize on Sunday, it’ll cap off a remarkable month for the man they call “Larry”.
Not only did Smith and his partner announce they were expecting their first baby in the coming months, but it was also confirmed that he would be remaining a Panther until the end of 2026.
“It’s been a good couple of weeks, with the baby announcement and the re-signing,” he said.
“It’s pretty exciting knowing that I’ll be here for another couple of years and obviously I’ve known about the baby for a while.
“It’s been cool to see some of the messages and well wishes that I’ve received.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.