Junior Clubs: Lara
Recruited From: Lara/Geelong U18
Brownlow Votes: 7
Community Ambassador: Cooma (Snowy Supercats)
Devon Smith is a tough small forward from the Geelong Falcons in Victoria. From the small town of Lara, Smith was drafted to the GIANTS with pick 14 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft. After picking up a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in his debut season, Smith was awarded the GIANTS Standards Award at the 2013 Kevin Sheedy Medal. He was named in the GIANTS’ emerging leaders group before the 2014 season and joined the official leadership group at the beginning of 2016.
Early season knee surgery limited the skilful forward to just 14 games last year, but Smith showed in the club's two finals that, at his best, his brilliance inside 50 is damaging. Smith's tackling pressure often goes unnoticed because of the X-factor and flashy parts of his game, but if he can get back to the consistency that saw him finished runner-up in the 2014 best and fairest, he can be a star. With a big pre-season, Smith could add even more depth to the GIANTS' midfield this year, but could also be a 40-goal forward.
Remains one of the competition's most exciting players to watch but needs to find more of the ball consistently to be a match-winner. A 27-possession, four-goal effort against Gold Coast in round 16 showed off Smith's ability, but he had 20 touches or more in just nine of his 20 games. A permanent move into the midfield should be the answer in 2016, but he remains the GIANTS' best and most dangerous small forward option. The arrival of Steve Johnson could be just the opportunity for Smith to become a dominant on-baller.
A player with undeniable talent and promise, he took that to the next level in 2014. Playing all bar one game, he produced 22 possessions and 4.5 tackles a game in a more central role, while still bobbing up with 26 goals. Finished equal second in the best and fairest and capped an outstanding season by kicking the winning goal in the round 23 triumph over the Western Bulldogs.
The young small forward made another significant step forward in 2013, playing 18 games and kicking 16 goals. The highlight was his 26-disposal, three-goal effort against Gold Coast in round five, while he averaged better than 16 touches and four tackles for the year. His season ended early following hip surgery, but the tough and talented youngster is establishing a permanent place.
Only five GIANTS managed 20 games or more in season one and only one of them was a teenager – Devon Smith. Recognised for his toughness and ability to get forward and kick goals as a junior, despite his 174cm frame, he brought those exact same attributes to AFL level. Rested for one game and missing the other with a minor calf problem, Smith won a Rising Star nomination for the round 19 win over Port Adelaide.
A hard-working midfielder, Smith also has a knack for getting forward, kicking six goals among 27 disposals in a game against Northern Territory in the Under-18 National Championships. Recovered well from a hip injury to have a strong 2011 season with the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup. Has plenty of speed and is also happy to lay tackles and throw his body around.
2011 NAB AFL Draft 1st round selection (GWS GIANTS) No.14 overall
NAB AFL Rising Star nominee 2012
Kevin Sheedy Medal 2nd place 2014 (equal)
GIANTS Coaches Award 2014
GIANTS Defensive Standards Award 2013, 2015