The Bulldogs took athletic defender Roarke Smith from the Calder Cannons with their first pick in the 2014 NAB AFL Rookie Draft (No. 5 overall) At 182cm, Smith brings pace and an impressive left foot and is known for his close-checking style.
Smith is an athletic, medium sized defender with a capacity to go into the midfield, that has a proven ability to play above his height. An impressive vertical leap is a standout feature amongst Smith’s attributes, and has shown he’s more than adept at winning his own ball. Smith was a member of the Calder Cannons’ 2014 TAC Cup Grand Final side. Smith debut in Round 21, 2015 against the West Coast Eagles before suffering a knee injury at VFL level that ended his season.
After missing the first half of 2016 rehabilitating from the knee reconstruction, Smith worked his way back into the senior line-up for the Round 22 clash against Essendon. That was to be his only senior game of the year, however he was a strong contributor to the Footscray Bulldogs’ finals run and eventual premiership win.
Smith again suffered an ACL injury in 2017 playing in the VFL, and returning to the field in 2018 saw him add 10 senior games to his tally. Opportunities were limited at the top level for Smith in 2019.
Impressive form for Footscray in the first half of the year earned the 23-year-old a mid-season promotion, where he played five games between round 14 and 18. The left-footed utility spent time at both ends of the ground across the year, and showed promise as a forward in the AFL side.
Smith signed a one-year contract extension at the end of 2019, ensuring his place on the playing list for 2020.
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Draft History: Pick 5 2014 AFL Rookie Draft (Western Bulldogs)