NAB League Girls Player Focus: Jasmyn Smith
IT was a special round of the NAB League Girls with the two Queensland Academies coming to town for a one-off match each. The SUNS Academy emerged victorious in their clash with Oakleigh Chargers, as their midfield had an impressive day out. Though Alana Gee was the star of the show, and Imogen Evans simply brilliant throughout, in today’s Player Focus we took a look at another player who is making great strides in Jasmyn Smith.
Smith is a classy midfielder who generally is clean by hand and foot. Often playing off a wing or half-forward and pushing up the ground, the small, evasive talent is smart enough around stoppages to play on the inside. The victory over Oakleigh Chargers was a really good one to analyse Smith, thanks to the extra challenging conditions with wet weather setting in over the past 48 hours prior to the game, making the ball extra slippery.
SEASON SO FAR
vs. Brisbane Lions Academy @ Yeronga: 16 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 3 clearances, 5 inside 50s
Like many of the Queensland talents, their season has been much of a delayed start compared to the rest of the nation, with the QAFL Women’s kicking off in just over two weeks time. Smith’s sole competitive match coming into the contest was up against the Brisbane Lions Academy, where the Suns won by 12 points, and the midfielder was among the better players there, with the third most disposals (16) and an equal team-high nine tackles.
Gold Coast Suns Academy 4.5 (29) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.2 (14)
Smith had a relatively quiet start to the match in terms of disposals, recording three touches in the opening term. Though they might not have been many in terms of volume, she applied five pressure acts, including a tackle. The versatile talent started the game at half-forward and applied an early shepherd, but quickly found the increased strength of the opponents, when she was shrugged off by Jasmine Fleming.
As the quarter went on, Smith looked to win the loose ball that spilled from a forward stoppage, but it never came, and effectively she won her first touch on a win by picking it up cleanly and dishing it off to an opponent. Midway through the quarter she ran hard to half-forward but just dropped the mark and slipped over in the conditions, though credit to her recovery, Smith was able to impact the next kick with a half-smother and force a turnover.
The wet conditions were troubling the usually-clean outside player, unable to grasp is cleanly off the deck when the ball was in motion. She got caught behind her taller namesake Lucinda Smith in a marking contest – the Oakleigh Smith has 17cm on the Suns midfielder – and was unable to impact the contest. She won another handball at ground level later in the term, just missing the target, but then followed up to win a contested ball and kicked clear to a teammate.
She finished the term with another few pressure acts, looking switched on to try and impact the contest in anyway she could, and though it might have been a slow start by her standards, she still remained involved.
Smith remained playing as a half-forward but pushing up to impact the midfield, though the conditions continued to rouble her. She was pushed off the ball at ground level in the opening few minutes against a couple of opponents at half-forward, but showed her defensive intensity with a smother to affect a kick and a block to release a teammate to pick up the ball.
She won her first touch at the five-minute mark of the quarter where she received the handball, took a few steps to give it off to a teammate, but her teammate was immediately tackled. Another tackle 30 seconds later impacted the kick, and then she had a chance to hit the scoreboard at the six and a half minute mark of the term after being pushed in the back and awarded a free kick. Unfortunately for Smith, the kick did not connect cleanly with the boot at all, and missed to the far right and was rushed over the line.
At the eight-minute mark Smith tried to handball at ground level under pressure and get it free but the opposition scooped it up, then she won her third kick of the game out of a stoppage. She was able to clear it from the contest and go inside 50 as well, and whilst the Oakleigh defender picked it up, they were immediately tackled and the contest was effectively nullified.
Late in the term she applied another couple of pressure acts, but just had some “almost” moments, with the ball slipping through her grasp on the wing, and then bouncing off her head/shoulder in the final couple of minutes. Smith recorded four touches for the quarter, as well as an inside 50 and clearance to head into the half-time break with seven disposals at 42.8 per cent efficiency.
The second half was a different story for Smith, particularly in the third term. The Gold Coast Suns talent started in the midfield on Charlotte Taylor in a bit of a mis-match. A full 16cm separated the pair and Smith went in hard to win the ball but it slipped past her and Taylor got the clearance. She applied a couple of tackles in that first minute though, one of which stuck well. From the next chance, she had a quick snap around her body to the middle which proved effective, then she won it cleanly off hands at half-forward a minute later, with her quick kick towards goal just going out of bounds.
Smith laid a good smother at the four-minute mark, and then took a great intercept mark at half-back reading the ball in flight well. Her ball drop on the kick did not look perfect, but it was efficient, able to hit up Gee on the wing. After having a great pickup off the deck with the still ball on the wing, she handballed to a teammate effectively, then laid a strong tackle at the next stoppage to lock the ball inside 50.
She continued to have an impact around the ground, able to cleanly pick up the ball and sidestep an opponent, but her kick ended up only travelling 10m and an opponent intercepted. Her next few touches were perfect though, which included another intercept mark in the middle of the ground – chopping off an inboard kick from the Chargers – and hitting up a teammate at half-forward. She gathered the ball well off hands at a stoppage in the middle of the ground and showed a nice sidestep to clear the ball in space to half-forward. Capping off the quarter, she won a high free kick against Taylor at the 12 and a half minute mark, and was able to pinpoint a pass.
At the 14-minute mark Smith came to the bench for a rest, and finished with an impressive seven kicks – at 71.4 per cent efficiency – two marks and two clearances, before sitting out the rest of the term.
Smith had a similarly impactful fourth term even though she did not win her first touch until the sixth minute of the quarter, having started at half-forward this quarter. Though her first kick – from a centre clearance – was not perfect skewing off the boot and only going a few metres, she soon won the ball again, receiving the handball at half-forward and kicking off a step inside 50 effectively.
The number one applied a smother to affect a kick on the wing and force a boundary throw in, then received the ball in close on the opposite wing a couple of minutes later to give it off to Gee to kick forward. At the 12-minute mark, Smith was again tackled high by Taylor in defence, with her rebound 50 going to a contest but intercepted. At half-back when Smith won the ball in the 13th minute, she was clean, quickly giving off to Nyalli Milne, then applied the shepherd to allow her speedster teammate to take grass.
Smith would finish up with a couple more touches, including an effective pickup off the deck and under pressure kicked inside 50 effective enough to advantage her teammates, then for her final play, marked at half-forward with her kick just intercepted. Though that was the case, Smith applied pressure on the opponent at the next opportunity to force a kick to go out on the full and her team win the ball back.
At the 16-minute mark, Smith came off for a rest to end the game, and finished with an impressive 23 touches (22 recorded in here), and a 68.2 per cent disposal efficiency. She also took three marks, of which two were intercept marks, and had three clearances and four inside 50s, with her one behind.
Jasmyn Smith has been a steady riser across the board for the Suns Academy and certainly has draftable qualities. Her running ability and combination of speed, evasion and endurance makes her a versatile prospect to play as either a midfielder or a half-forward. In terms of her strengths, she is skilful by hand or foot when having time and space, with the key area to improve on being strength, as well as ground balls at times.
Though she reads it well off hands and is clean once she has control of the ball, working on the ground ball collection at speed or when under pressure is a way that she can further improve. Though unlikely to be a first-possession contested midfielder – and she should not be based on her athletic and football traits – she could develop into that second-possession player who can still win it on the inside and evade opponents to kick cleanly inside 50. She is one to watch throughout the season this year.
Next up for Smith is another clash with the Lions Academy on Sunday, before a campaign with Queensland at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and of course the QAFL Women’s season which kicks off on March 26. Smith has moved from Broadbeach to Bond University in order to play in the top division.