Longford/Penguin/Wynyard/Smithton/Burnie, Centre Half Back, 1970-85
> 370 games for Longford, Penguin, Wynyard, Smithton and Burnie, 1970-85
> Wynyard NWFU premierships, 1975, 1979
> Smithton NWFU premiership, 1983
> Wander Medal for NWFU Best and Fairest, 1972, 1977
> Penguin Best and Fairest, 1971, 1972, 1973
> Wynyard Best and Fairest, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980
> Smithton Best and Fairest, 1983
> Five representative matches for Tasmania, 1973-78
> 12 representative matches for NWFU
> Alstergren Trophy for best NWFU player in intrastate matches, 1976
> Wynyard ‘All-Star Team 1965-1995’ (centre half back)
> Penguin ‘Team of the Century’ (interchange)
A strong high-marking defender who was almost unbeatable at his best, Ricky Smith dominated coastal football in a way few others have over a magnificent 16-season career.
After starting at Longford in the NTFA in 1970 Smith moved to the north-west coast to join Penguin in 1971. It was to be the start of a 13-year period of almost unparalleled individual success, as Smith won three consecutive Penguin Best and Fairest awards from 1971-73, with 1972 also producing the first of two Wander Medals as the most outstanding player in the NWFU. After 81 games with the Two Blues, Smith joined his third club in six seasons in 1975, this time heading up the coast to Wynyard. Success would follow him here too: in six seasons at the Cats Smith would not only take out a staggering five Best and Fairest awards in six seasons between 1975 and 1980 (missing only the 1978 award) but would also claim his second Wander Medal in 1977, putting him up amongst the elite in the history of coastal football as one of only five multiple Wander Medallists. In addition to his individual achievements, Smith’s time at Wynyard also brought his first taste of premiership triumph, with Wynyard taking out senior premierships in 1975 and again in 1979.
The next club on Smith’s list was NWFU newcomers Smithton, and in 1983 Smith featured in the Saints’ maiden premiership in only the club’s fourth season in the competition. Smith’s time there would be short lived – although it did produce yet another club champion award in the team’s premiership year of 1983 – and he ended his career with a one-year stint as coach of the Burnie Tigers in 1985, retiring at season’s end after 370 senior games, three premierships and a remarkable nine club Best and Fairest awards.
A star at club level, Smith also represented both the NWFU (12 matches) and Tasmania (five matches) with distinction in representative football. One of the most decorated and celebrated footballers of all time on the north-west coast, he was inducted into the NWFU’s ‘200 Club’ in 1976, and his achievements were honoured post-retirement with selection in both Penguin and Wynyard’s greatest teams.