Smith was previously an elite basketball player, having represented Australia at the under-19s level. Crossing to AFL, he followed in the footsteps of his father Shaun Smith, who played for North Melbourne and Melbourne, with Joel picked up by the Dees in 2015 as a category B rookie.
The athletic former Category B Rookie has shown promise in the forward line this season after previously being deployed as a defender in previous seasons.
However, he has struggled for consistency in his AFL career, spending two seasons playing for the Casey Demons before getting selected for a senior game in 2017, and has missed large chunks of footy through injury. This year suffering a significant foot injury, which cost him over two months of football.
The 26-year-old also tragically missed Melbourne's 2021 drought-breaking premiership through injury, having suffered a minor calf injury at training, and was replaced by Michael Hibbard for the premilamry final against Geelong.
"Joel is a unique athlete who has shown he has the required attributes and talent to make a significant contribution at AFL level, he has the flexibility to play at both ends of the ground and we are excited to see what he can produce into the future.”