AURORA Smith has enjoyed a remarkable start to the 2021 season, with her most recent outing in Round 7 earning her the honour of Draft Central NAB League Girls Player of the Week. The Murray Bushrangers wing was a standout performer during the Bushies’ first win of the season over Gippsland Power, particularly dominant in the first half. She earned the nod of Player of the Week ahead of Calder Cannons’ captain Georgie Prespakis in the vote on our AFL Draft Central Facebook group.
Smith had 25 disposals – 16 kicks – six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and two rebounds in the 47-point victory over Gippsland, and brought her own ball to the game in the early stages of the match, being amongst everything and providing her trademark speed on the outside. She is equally as comfortable getting stuck into the opposition with some big tackles, and then spreading hard to win the ball back from a teammate and drive it forward. As a draft-eligible player, Smith was one of a number of talents who missed out on a bottom-age year in 2020, but is making up for lost time, with the December-born talent having a big year.
In season 2021, Smith averages 20.4 disposals, 3.6 marks, 2.8 tackles, 4.4 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds from her five games this season. Her speed and outside work rate to get to repeat contests is a highlight of her game, and she is one of the most consistent players in the 2021 season. After having just the two games last season due to the year being cut short, Smith has put her hand firmly up for Vic Country representation after having three consecutive 20-plus disposals games, and not dipping below 16 disposals all year.
Murray’s first win moved them to 1-4 for the season, with a catch-up game from Round 2 to come on April 11 against Geelong on the eve of the AFL Women’s Under-19 Championships, with their remaining two fixtures to come against Dandenong Stingrays this weekend coming, and Sandringham Dragons on Anzac Day.
NAB League Girls Player of the Week:
Round 1: Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets)
Round 3: Emily Shepherd (Dandenong Stingrays)
Round 4: Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons)
Round 5: Sofia Hurley (Sandringham Dragons)
Round 6: Tess Craven (Geelong Falcons)
Round 7: Aurora Smith (Murray Bushrangers)