Running out onto Blundstone Arena to make her AFLW debut on Saturday, SUNS Academy graduate Jasmyn Smith didn’t look out of place.
Despite standing at just 159cm, the 18-year-old was quick to stamp her authority on the game and prove she could match it with the heavyweights around her.
In the second quarter, Smith pounced on a loose ball, only find herself staring down five-time All-Australian midfielder Emma Kearney.
Not to be overawed by the occasion, the wily Smith was quick to wrap Kearney up in a fierce tackle, showing strength beyond her slight frame.
Kearney only just managed to get a stray boot to the ball, before Smith quickly bounced to her feet and won the ball again in the contest with an elite follow-up effort.
“I’m pretty used to throwing myself around a little bit and I don’t usually stay down too long when I get hit,” Smith said in the Harbour Town Premium Outlets post-match interview.
“I just brought that mentality back out onto the field and just hit the girls hard because that’s all they can ask of me, to try to keep it in the forward line.”
It was a big step up for Smith who has excelled at Under 18 and SUNS Academy football in recent year.
“It’s much quicker than what I’m used to but I think I adapted to the game well and the girls got around me,” Smith said.
“All the preparation we’ve done leading into Round 1 has paid off in preparing us for this.”
It wasn’t the result the AFLW team was looking for, but Smith said there was plenty to take into the club’s first home match in Round 2.
“The main learnings was to bring the intensity a little bit earlier in the game,” Smith said.
“As a whole we brought it a bit in the last quarter getting those two goals from Kindy (Kalinda Howarth) and Stanno (Jamie Stanton) but I think we could have done that a bit earlier in the game.
“We can look at it pretty positively, the fourth quarter shows us that we can do it so I think we’ve just got to bring it a bit earlier.”
The SUNS will take on West Coast in Round 2 at Metricon Stadium at 5:10pm on Sunday afternoon.