Jeremy Smith (born 14 April 1980) is a New Zealand professional rugby league footballer for the Newcastle Knights of the National Rugby League (NRL). A New Zealand national representative forward, he previously played for NRL clubs the Melbourne Storm, with whom he won the 2007 NRL Grand Final, the St. George Illawarra Dragons, with whom he won the 2010 NRL Grand Final, and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. He primarily plays second-row or lock forward.
Of Samoan heritage, Smith was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. His date of birth is 14 April 1980, but on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks website, it says his date of birth is 14 April 1985. He is cousins with Kalifa Faifai Loa.
Smith played his junior football for the Altona Roosters in Melbourne, Victoria before moving to Queensland to play for Runaway Bay Seagulls RLFC. In 2002, Smith was signed by the Northern Eagles but returned to Queensland to play for Melbourne Storm feeder club, Brisbane Norths in the Queensland Cup. In 2004, Smith was named Brisbane Norths' Player of the Year.
Professional playing career
In Round 23 of the 2004 NRL season Smith made his NRL debut for the Storm against the Canberra Raiders. He scored a try on debut. Smith didn't play first-grade in 2005 but became a regular first-grader in 2006. The Storm reached the 2006 NRL Grand Final and Smith was selected to play from the interchange bench in the loss to the Brisbane Broncos. He played in the 2007 NRL Grand Final win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, again selected off the interchange. After winning the 2007 NRL Grand Final with the Melbourne Storm, Smith was selected for the 2007 All Golds tour. Not to be confused with compatriot and namesake Jeremy James Smith, both Jeremy Smiths were named in the rugby league Centenary clash of 14 October 2007, Jeremy James Smith in the number 7 jersey and Jeremy Jon Oscar Smith in the number 13 jersey. In August 2008, Smith was named in the New Zealand training squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. Later in the season Smith played in the 2008 NRL Grand Final defeat by Manly, starting in the second-row. Smith signed a 3-year contract with the St. George Illawarra Dragons starting in 2009 to be a part of the new Wayne Bennett era at the Dragons. In October 2008, he was named in the final 24-man New Zealand Kiwis squad. Smith was a member of the World Cup-winning New Zealand team beating Australia in the 2008 World Cup final at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland.
St. George Illawarra Dragons
In January 2009, Smith was named the 2008 New Zealand Rugby League Player of the Year. In his first year at the Dragons, the team won the 2009 Minor Premiership after finishing first in the regular season and again won the Minor Premiership in 2010. In August 2010, Smith signed a 3-year contract with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks starting in 2011. Smith played at lock in the Dragons' team that won the 2010 NRL Grand Final, defeating the Sydney Roosters. This was Smith's second premiership after the Storm's 2007 title. After that win, he had played in more grand finals than any other New Zealander. After winning the 2010 NRL Grand Final with the St. George Illawarra Dragons, Smith was a part of New Zealand's successful 2010 Four Nations campaign.
Despite having a disappointing year with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in 2011, Smith was again chosen to represent New Zealand in the 2011 ANZAC Test and 2011 Four Nations. After a successful start to year with the Sharks, Smith was selected in the 2012 ANZAC Test. On 26 September 2012, Smith signed a 3-year contract with the Newcastle Knights starting in 2013 to rejoin his former Dragons coach, Wayne Bennett. He was released from the final year of his Sharks contract due to personal reasons. He was named the New Zealand Rugby League's 2012 Player of the Year.
Smith commenced playing with the Newcastle Knights in the 2013 NRL season.