The 2018 Australian Hockey League officially began on Saturday, and NSW’s first match against Queensland was a good one for Hockeyroos captain and Crookwell resident Emily Smith.
In the course of NSW’s 5-3 victory, Smith scored the first two goals, the second of which was a conversion of the first, under the new rules which were introduced for this tournament.
Most Crookwell-based players, including Shelly Watson and Jessica Smith (Emily’s sister), play for ACT, but Smith is playing for NSW by virtue of a decision she made as a junior.
“As a junior, I played all my juniors with NSW,” Smith said.
“I trialed for both NSW and ACT as a 12-year-old, but made the NSW team first, so obviously being the home state I chose to represent NSW.”
When NSW come up against the ACT side in round three, Smith will have another chance to face off against her younger sister.
It will not be the first time the two have come up against each other, and Smith said that she has won every clash between them so far.
“Only a handful of times at AHL,” Smith said of the number of times the two have played.
“We used to play a lot in the front yard against each other and it got very competitive, but it takes it takes it to a whole new level when you’re at the [Australian] Hockey League.
“She hasn’t beaten me yet, so hopefully I can keep that record going this year.”
Although she is the captain of the Hockeyroos, Smith will be splitting the NSW captaincy with Tamsin Bunt for the duration of the AHL to ease the burden on both.
“It does take that pressure off,” Smith said.
“Something that I’m really looking forward to doing on this campaign is just going out and playing the hockey that I’ve been known to play in the past without putting too much extra pressure in regards to leadership.
“I feel like if I go out and play my style, that will be enough to help the NSW team.”
NSW will next play Tasmania in Hobart this Sunday, with the match starting from 1.00pm.
NSW will be comfortable favourites in the encounter, following Tasmania’s first round loss to the ACT.