But now the 110 cap veteran, who made his debut against France in 2000 and had his last run in green and gold against Wales in 2009, should be free to be selected by Deans if he feels he needs to use his experience against Warren Gatland's Lions. Having played in the 2-1 series victory over the 2001 Lions he has a lot of that to offer.
He can now compete with young loose forwards Michael Hooper and Liam Gill for the Wallabies No 7 jersey for a place in the Wallabies side to tackle the Lions in Brisbane (22 June), Melbourne (29 June) and Sydney (6 July).
His form following his return to Australia has been excellent and the Brumbies have been the outstanding team in Super Rugby so far this season, leading the overall tournament rankings. Smith go head-to-head with Gill in the game against Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday night.
"I'm excited about it - it's not often you get to play against a flanker of that calibre. You test your own play against the best footballers in the world and this will be another example of it, coming up against arguably one of the best flankers not only Australia, but the world, has seen," said Gill.
"George is an all-round player. He is strong at the breakdown, great in defence, a great link player and he is a great attacking player.
"We'll have to focus on what impact he will have on the game. We know it will be big - he offers a different aspect to the other sevens I have played so far. He'll be a massive threat. That will not only test myself, but the whole team."