St Kilda officially boasts the best young midfield duo in AFLW after Tyanna Smith put in one of the more memorable debut performances alongside superstar teammate Georgia Patrikios.
The 18-year-old Smith was influential when it mattered for the Saints and looks like she can elevate St Kilda into a premiership threat in 2021.
The Saints recorded their highest score in their AFLW history on the way to a nailbiting nine-point victory against an inaccurate Western Bulldogs.
Isabel Huntington, stationed as a forward, and Ellie Blackburn almost got the Dogs over the line, both kicking two goals, but St Kilda looked like the real deal with slick ball movement, options up forward and a dominant midfield.
Tyanna Smith celebrates her goal in the AFLW. Picture: AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
WATT A BRIGHT LIGHT
Rhiannon Watt played the perfect game in the ruck for the Saints.
In her ninth game of AFLW, Watt perfectly combined her tap work with her ability to follow up at ground level, propelling the Saints forward to set the tone early.
Watt finished with 11 disposals, four clearances and 13 hit outs.
It’s no secret Georgia Patrikios is one of the best footballers in AFLW, and she showed it again on Friday night finishing with 23 disposals and a goal.
But what will excite St Kilda people the most was the breathtaking debut of its first selection at last year’s draft, Tyanna Smith.
Smith finished with 15 disposals and a goal.
BATTLE OF THE BURKES
It was the headline act heading into the game, and despite having a quiet debut, it was Alice Burke who left RSEA Park smiling while her dad Nathan was left to lick his wounds.
The daughter of the St Kilda legend, picked up as a father-daughter selection in last year’s draft, finished with two disposals.
SLIPPERY SKILLS WHEN WET
If there were fears more than 40mm of rain before the first bounce was going to turn the game into a scrap, it took just 30 seconds to put everyone’s minds at rest.
When Caitlin Greiser kicked truly from the goalsquare it ignited a flurry of scoring and fast football, with six goals kicked in an exhilarating first term.
The first half, which yielded nine goals, would’ve muted the competition’s naysayers as Patrikios, Smith and Blackburn burst out of stoppages time and again.
Bulldogs forward Isabel Huntington marks in front of St Kilda’s Jayde Van Dyk. Picture: AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
HUNTINGTON DOMINANT AS A FORWARD
After playing her footy in the Dogs’ backline last season on her way to winning the Rising Star award, Isabel Huntington was the most influential forward on the ground at RSEA Park.
Highlighted by huge pack marks in the second and third quarters, Huntington was too strong in the air and just as dangerous when the ball hit the deck.
She finished with nine disposals and 2.2.
St Kilda 8.3 (51) def Western Bulldogs 6.6 (42)
St Kilda: Greiser 2, Guttridge, 1 Patrikios, Shierlaw, Smith, Vogt
Bulldogs: Huntington 2, Toogood, Blackburn
St Kilda: Patrikios, Smith, Greiser, White, Watt
Bulldogs: Huntington, Blackburn, Toogood, Lamb
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