The son of former high-flying Demon Shaun Smith, Joel signed with the Melbourne Demons 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.
Joel is an exciting, tall key-defender who’s game is played through his agility and athleticism. At 191cm, Joel has the ability of both a key position player for the Demons however, with his basketball background, he has the agility and movements of a smaller, midfielder-type player. Originally signed as a rookie, Joel surprised many and was called upon senior selection in Round 1 against St Kilda. Sadly, Joel injured his left shoulder during the game and was sidelined early on. He returned later that year to play in Round 16 and 17 however returned to the VFL following these games. Joel’s time in the VFL following his AFL appearances was short-lived however as injury continued to plague his year, this time it being his knee which was injured badly.
Joel will resume his pre-season training soon. Despite his injuries causing him frustration, Melbourne have instilled faith in the young athlete by signing him for a further 2 years. Joel’s ability will play an important part in Melbourne’s defensive make-up in the 2018 season.