22 June 1969 (age 53)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 300d
Last game: 29y 33d
Height and weight
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 90 kg
North Melbourne (1995)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 9,822nd player to appear, 2,143rd most games played, 747th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 779th player to appear, 289th most games played, 163rd most goals kickedMelbourne: 1,159th player to appear, 269th most games played, 82nd most goals kicked
Captain of the ACT's 1986 Teal Cup team, Shaun Smith achieved All Australian selection, and later in the year, having made his ACTAFL debut with Ainslie, he also represented the ACT at senior level. In 1988 he was a member of the ACT's state of origin team at the bicentennial interstate championship series in Adelaide, and after spending most of the season at home with Ainslie, topped the league's goal kicking list with 71 goals.
A year earlier, Smith had ostensibly joined North Melbourne, but his senior career with the club did not begin in earnest until 1989. Ultimately, he went on to play a total of 47 games and kick 38 goals in an injury impeded six-season stint. Delisted by the 'Roos at the end of the 1992 season, he spent the next couple of years at Werribee before returning to the AFL with Melbourne in 1995, a season that would go down as far and away the most memorable of his career.
In the final home and away match of the year, the Demons were playing Brisbane at the Gabba, with the winners assured of participation in that season's finals. Although Melbourne ultimately lost the match, the most talked about event afterwards was a spectacular, skyscraping mark taken in the Dees' goal square by none other than Shaun Smith. Some even went so far as to dub it 'the mark of the century'.
Shaun Smith had always been a superb aerialist, which perhaps in part explains his susceptibility to injury, so the mark ought not really to have taken anyone by surprise. However, he was much more than just a high flier. Always the epitome of courage and desperation, he showed late in his AFL career that, had circumstances been different, he could have become one of the game's all time great full backs. In one particular match against Geelong at Kardinia Park, he kept the redoubtable Gary Ablett, then at the peak of his prowess as a sharp shooter, goal less. Time was fast catching up with Smith, however, and in 1998 Melbourne delisted him. Nevertheless, he continued to perform with great energy and effectiveness at Werribee where he remained a listed player until 2004.
Author - John Devaney