Bailey Smith has spoken publicly for the first time since his AFL suspension for conduct unbecoming, after photographs and video emerged of him taking an illicit drug.

Smith was handed a two-week ban for the act, but the 21-year-old put on a masterclass handling the bombshell moment by immediately owning up to what happened and apologising, which defused the explosive situation within days.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Bailey Smith opens up about drugs saga.

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The superstar midfielder spent a month away from the game, having also been suspended for two weeks for a headbutt on Geelong’s Zach Tuohy, before coming back for round 18 and playing out the rest of the season.

Now, the hottest name in the game has opened up for the first time about how the saga affected him.

“I’m good,” he said of his current mental health.

“It’s been a bit of a challenging period there, but I think everyone goes through stuff like that.

“(I’m) on the other side of it, glad to have my sponsors stick by me. Cotton:On, they’ve been massive, Monster Energy, Macca’s … it’s been amazing.

“It’s been good just to strip it back to playing footy when I was able to get back out there, be around my teammates. It’s been a journey, but it’s been super fulfilling”.

Bailey Smith opens up about drugs saga. Credit: Channel 7

He said coming clean and apologising for an act like that is the best way of handling it.

“I think that’s all you can do, be honest,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“My life’s out there, I think just not shying away from it is the key. I live by that and I stand by that”.

Smith was out spruiking his own new range of haircare products along with his business partner, friend and hairdresser, Joey, who also gave his luscious blonde locks a trim while they were there.

And while he didn’t quite chop the mullet off, some hair had already been shaved off from Mad Monday – but it wasn’t on his head, it was two slits in his eyebrow.

Bailey Smith sporting a new eyebrow style. Credit: Channel 7

“That was Mad Monday,” he said.

“I think we were a few drinks in, and we all thought it was good to put a few eyebrow slits in.

“A few boys got chunks in the back of their hair taken out, so I’m glad I didn’t get that, but I do have a chunk out of my eyebrow, which is no good.

“A few boys got a few haircuts that day; it was funny as”.

He did say that he had plans “in the works” for the mullet to come off, alluding to a possible charity fundraiser in the next year.

As speculation continues to rage over the future of Smith’s teammate Josh Dunkley, the youngster said he hasn’t got an indication from his good mate whether he’s staying or leaving.

It’s unclear whether Josh Dunkley will stay at the Bulldogs. Credit: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Fans scramble to snap up finals tickets.

Fans scramble to snap up finals tickets.

“I haven’t heard anything from him,” Smith said.

“I’m quite good mates with Josh, but I haven’t heard anything yet.

“Either way, we’ll support him on his decision, because we just love him as a player and what he’s done for our club over the years. So, regardless of what he chooses to do … we’ll support him either way because he’s just been massive for the culture”.

The Bulldogs were ultimately disappointing this season, coming off a grand final appearance in 2021, but Smith said Luke Beveridge was still the man to lead them forward.

Bailey Smith says Luke Beveridge is the man to lead them forward. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“You see what he did in 2016, even last year, and the past couple of years with what he’s had to steer us through with COVID and obviously being a tough time for everyone, but especially as a head coach,” he said.

“You can’t really look past him to navigate our team into the future. The bonds he has with the players are too special.

“You don’t want the end of the year to be like that – disappointing, especially when we were so far up against Freo. But to their credit, they are a really good side. It’s just disappointing again to showcase how good our footy can be at the start of the game, to then choke it like that.

“You have expectations … we were top four most of last year then ended up coming fifth. We were disappointed with that, but then lucky enough to make the granny, and then disappointed with that performance.

“I think you can never really be satisfied as a team. But certainly, this year we were dissatisfied as a team with the way we performed. But we go into next year excited and keen to see what we bring to the table again”.

Collingwood going the extra mile to prepare for Sydney.

Collingwood going the extra mile to prepare for Sydney.