Katherine ‘Smitty’ Smith enters her second season at the GIANTS, but it's her first chance to hit the track during pre-season with the club.
The former Demon joined the GIANTS ahead of the 2021 season, mid-way through rehabilitation from an ACL injury suffered in 2020.
Through grit and determination, Smith’s hard work paid off and she returned to the game she loved in round five, also making her GIANTS debut.
Playing five games in her debut season for the club, Smith’s return to the game saw her play at both ends, but the 23-year-old has some clear focuses for the 2022 season.
“I really want to have more of an impact on the team and help the team succeed this year,” said Smith.
“My body is in a really good spot, we’ve worked really hard in the off-season to get myself strong and fit and I really want to impact in the forward line this season.
“Overall the girls have improved heaps during the off-season and the group is in a really good spot.”
With experience beyond her years, Smith is an unofficial leader within the side.
“I definitely think with my footy background I’m able to help educate the younger girls around the footy terminology and skills," she said.
“I think everyone’s growth in terms of training standards has lifted, which the leadership group has been improving and challenging everyone to train to a high standard.”
Smith’s leadership and guidance has been particularly crucial to young Isadora McLeay who is experiencing the same setback with a knee injury that Smith faced last season.
“She’s doing an amazing job," Smith said.
“I’ve had a few catch ups with her, but super impressive to see her play on and keep going and I think this whole entire process she will learn a lot and come back a lot fitter and stronger and then be an amazing footballer in her own right.”
There's plenty of new players at the GIANTS with a couple of old heads, and fresh faces, impressing Smith on the training track.
“I think Pep [Randall] is really going to bring some offensive excitement for us. She’s always been a great defender but she’s really showing her skill at the moment," she said.
“Georgie Fowler up forward, I’m loving her smarts around goals, she just knows where they are.
“Obviously you’ve got [Chloe] Dalton who will just run down the wing and take three of four bounces, which we all love to see.
“But everyone’s just gone to a new level of standard, so I think there will be a few more standouts for us this year.”
The GIANTS are currently in week seven of pre-season training, with the first round of the NAB AFLW action to kick off in the first week of January.
AFLW memberships are now on sale. Show your support for the girls by signing up as a member today!