The son of former high-flying Demon Shaun Smith, Joel has signed with the Dees as a category B rookie. Smith, who is 191cm and 85kg, has been recruited via the three-year non-registered rule. Joel started playing football with Taylors Lakes in under 10s and then moved to Maribyrnong Park in under 16s, before switching sports. He played basketball at Keilor and most recently with the Geelong Supercats in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL). He also represented Australia in the under 19s and played basketball in New Zealand.