Smith was St Kilda's ruckman for ten seasons, beginning in 1899. He captained the club for the first time in 1901 and was also captain in 1903, 1904 and 1906. In 1900 and 1901 he represented Victoria at interstate football.
When he took the field for St Kilda in Round three of the 1905 season against Collingwood at Junction Oval he became the first St Kilda player to make 100 VFL appearances.
He spent the 1907 season as an umpire and although Smith returned to St Kilda in 1908 he only managed three more games.
As a player he never got to contest finals football, with St Kilda winning only 19 of the 130 games that he played in. He did however steer the club to the finals as coach in 1918.