Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Raymond Kehm Smith

Known as
Ray Smith

23 September 1948 (age 74)

Psychologist and motivational speaker

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 234d
Last game: 27y 340d

Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 81 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon; Melbourne; Camberwell; Brunswick

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 35, 43
Melbourne: 43, 7

Recruited from
Essendon (1975); Melbourne (1977); Camberwell (1979)

Ray Smith

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV




Despite suffering from the disquieting disadvantage of coming from a rugby union background, Ray Smith developed into a top line defender who became the first Queenslander to play 100 VFL games. Aged just 15 when he made his senior debut with Sherwood in 1964, he also represented Queensland at under 19s Rugby in the mid 1960s. After a stint with Western Districts in the QAFL, he abandoned Australian football for Rugby League, and in 1970 played in a Queensland premiership team with Valleys, a solid performer in the centre. 

Smith returned to the Australian game the following year when recruited by Essendon. After a slow start to his VFL career, Smith became one of the club's most consistent players, from mid-1972 to mid-1975 when, after 77 games with the Bombers, he was unceremoniously transferred to rivals Melbourne. Indeed, he had been training at Windy Hill just two hours before being selected in the Demons lineup for the round 13 clash with North Melbourne. He went on to play a further 27 games with the Demons to bring his VFL tally to 104 games, with two goals to boot. 

For the 1977 season, Smith accepted the position of captain-coach at VFA club Camberwell, taking the tricolours to third and second place finishes in 1977 and 1978, respectively. He transferred to Brunswick in 1979, where he finished off his career in style as a member of the 1980 premiership team.



Interest in Smith's unique three-code career was revived with the emergence of fellow 'code-hoppers', Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt in the early 2010s. Interviewed in 2012, Smith said he was able to adapt to different sports because he played Aussie rules first. 

"If Israel had played Australian rules during school he would have gained the perceptual ability to succeed in a variety of AFL, unlike league and rugby, you have to chase the ball and have the awareness to read the game and understand where the ball is headed. I grew up in the west of Brisbane at an Aussie rules school and I found that gave me the grounding to succeed at the rugby codes. In the backs in the rugby codes you have specific positions on the field and the ball finds you. Israel found it frustrating in AFL because he did not know how to read the game. Karmichael Hunt has done better, but he still does not gather the amount of possessions to really be considered among the better players."¹

Ray Smith was recognised by the Brisbane Lions with the naming of the 'Ray Smith 100-Game Honour Board, which hangs in the player rooms at the Gabba. His brothers, Bruce and Tony, were also fine footballers, and were both premiership players with Kedron and wore the Maroon State jumper with distinction.

Author - John Devaney and Adam Cardosi




Full Points Footy Publications; DemomWiki;


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.