Career : 1968 - 1970
Debut : Round 2, 1968 vs Richmond, aged 20 years, 211 days
Carlton Player No. 803
Games : 38 (15 at Carlton)
Goals : 33 (10 at Carlton)
Guernsey No.: 37 (1968 - 1970)
Last Game : Round 17, 1970 vs Fitzroy, aged 22 years, 306 days
Height : 183 cm (6 ft. 0 in.)
Weight : 87 kg (13 stone, 10 lbs.)
DOB : 22 September 22, 1947
The son of legendary Melbourne coach Norm Smith, Peter Victor Smith was an outstanding schoolboy footballer at Melbourne Grammar School, and a disciple of the Demons’ inspirational captain, Ron Barassi. A key forward with all-round skills, he was a promising goal-kicker who made his senior debut for Melbourne at the age of 18 in 1965.
Shortly beforehand, Barassi had shocked the football world by defecting to Carlton as captain-coach, and in 1968 – after 23 games and 23 goals for Melbourne – Smith joined his former mentor at Princes Park. Playing his first senior match for his new club against Richmond in round 2 at the MCG on Anzac Day, he underwent a tough initiation when the Blues were held to just one goal for the entire match, and humiliated by 46 points. In scant consolation, Smith kicked Carlton’s only major in the third quarter.
From that point on, however, Barassi’s team clicked into gear and won 16 of their next 20 games – including two finals – to snatch the Blues’ first Premiership for 21 long seasons with a grinding Grand Final win over Essendon. Smith played 10 matches for the year, but his cause wasn’t helped by the emergence of Brian Kekovich – who held the full-forward post for most of the season and was highly effective in the finals. And a 4-week suspension for striking Collingwood’s Con Britt - incurred in round 7 - halted Smith's progress at precisely the wrong time.
On his return to the side in round 12, Smith was sent to half-back, where it was soon obvious that he was far more suited in attack. The problem however, was the riches the Blues were accumulating when it came to options up forward. Although Kekovich’s career was prematurely ended by a back injury in 1969, Alex Jesaulenko was ready to step in, and Crosswell, Robertson, and Walls were all capable alternatives.
Smith’s career at Carlton petered out over 1969-70, as he found it increasingly difficult to force his way into one of the greatest of all Carlton teams. He wore his number 37 guernsey for the last time at senior level at Waverley Park in July 1970, when the Blues beat Fitzroy by 10 points on the way to a miraculous Grand Final triumph over Collingwood in September.
In 1971, Smith was cleared to Port Melbourne in the VFA, where he became the Borough’s first-choice full-forward, and averaged 70 goals a season in his first three years. Then in late 1973, Port Melbourne approached rivals Coburg, seeking a clearance for ex-Collingwood star Mick Erwin, who was interested in the position of captain-coach with the Borough. Eventually, a deal was done involving a straight swap of Smith for Erwin, with spectacular results for the Lions.
Coburg lost only one 2nd Division game in 1974 - to Waverley in round 4 - as Smith went on a goal-scoring spree. In the last round of the home and away season, he booted 13 goals against Mordialloc, followed by 12 in the second Semi Final against Waverley, and eight in the Grand Final against the same opponent. Coburg won the flag in a canter, on the back of Smith’s huge aggregate of 121 majors – a feat that saw him join Bob Pratt, Lance Collins and Jack Titus as the only Coburg players to kick 100 goals in a single season.
Elevated to 1st Division in 1975, Coburg showed that they were a worthy side by making the finals again, with Smith contributing another 82 goals at full-forward in his last season.
FootnotesPeter is the most successful of all of Carlton's eight Smiths - despite only playing 15 games in Navy Blue. The full story of the Carlton 'Smiths' is explained within an Blueseum exclusive article, available here.
Peter Smith is a second cousin of seventies Blues dynamo Wayne Harmes.
Career Highlights1963 - U/19's Best in Finals
1969 - President's Trophy - Best Clubman
1969 - 4th Reserves Best & Fairest
1969 - Reserves Best in Finals Award
1970 - 5th Reserves Best & Fairest