A fresh surge of belief after toppling a top-four Brisbane outfit has Tyanna Smith and the Saints feeling like they’re firing at just the right time heading into this week’s must-win match against the Blues.
St Kilda finds itself on the precipice of a maiden finals berth should they account for Carlton this Sunday at Ikon Park, and although needing a handful of other results to swing their way to fully guarantee it, could make the top-eight after dropping the first three games of the season.
“Our win against Brisbane really gave us so much belief: not just the win, but the way that we played,” Smith said as part of a joint media opportunity with Carlton at the Victorian Pride Centre.
“It was a great win. The week before (against Fremantle) we just didn’t play ‘Saints Footy’, and I think that was what we wanted to get back to: playing our brand and our way.
“Brisbane are a great opponent, so we wanted to respect them but we also had great belief coming into the game. There wasn’t much to lose, really.”
There will be a lot more to play for this weekend as the Saints look to turn possibility into reality, however the vision for this week is centred solely on securing a win, irrespective of whether or not it eventually lands them in the top-eight.
“It will obviously come down to the last game, but we’re not looking too far forward to (finals),” Smith said.
Although Smith says she’s “not 100 per cent” where she wants to be after two seasons out of the game through injury, her past month of football in particular would suggest the total opposite.
The 21-year-old has been a key cog in the St Kilda machine in her return campaign, averaging 14 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances a game to play a major hand in her side’s swift revival following a 0-3 opening to 2023.
Her pressure work at the coalface has been a particular highlight, seeing her chart second in the league for total pressure acts (220) behind Sydney’s Laura Gardiner (234) and first for the Saints’ tackles (70) and clearances (48) counts.
Smith will again look to have a critical say on the contest in Sunday’s encounter with the Blues, which will form part of the AFLW’s Pride Round celebrations.
“It’s a game for the community to come together, show their support for everybody and represent the community with such pride,” Smith said.
“I think all the teams do such a great job representing the round and designing beautiful guernseys… we’re really privileged to play in the round.
“I think AFLW is a really welcoming community altogether. It’s a safe place, I think everybody can be themselves and the fans and everyone else makes it such a good atmosphere.”