One of the best parts about the relative youth of the AFLW competition is the potential for new records and benchmarks to be set on a consistent basis. It seems as if with every passing week the competition is getting stronger, larger, and more dynamic.

Pulling on the royal blue and white stripes for the first time on Saturday, Amy Smith created her own piece of history at Arden Street in becoming the first ever father/daughter player to represent North Melbourne.

Her father, Shaun, played 47 games for the club in the late 1980s and early 1990s before moving to Melbourne where he played a further 62 AFL games, and her brother, Joel, currently plies his trade at the Demons.

A talented basketballer in her youth, Smith represented Keilor Thunder before transitioning to football with Essendon District Football League side Aberfeldie. Her journey through the footy pathway culminated in her maiden AFLW appearance last weekend. 

While Smith is not the first player to change sports and reach the elite level, she says the desire for change is what prompted her to trade in basketball for football.

“I just wasn’t enjoying basketball as much in my last season, and I saw so many girls getting the opportunity to play AFLW so I thought why not give it a go and see where I can take my footy,” Smith told North Media

“Dad didn’t really have any say in me playing footy. He never actually thought I would play it, so I think he was pretty shocked when I told him that was the plan.

“I’ve come a long way since getting drafted. When I first came to the club I was very fresh to footy and had a lot to learn, but I’ve learnt so much."

Amy Smith's father, Shaun, played 47 games for North Melbourne.

When you think of former basketballers crossing to football, it’s hard not to think of a stereotypically tall and strong key position player. Someone who uses their height and physical attributes to their advantage on the football field.

Smith, however, doesn’t fit that bill. At 170 centimetres tall, she’s by no means short, but rather than size being her strength, Smith’s greatest physical quality lies in her running capacity.

Finishing first and second across the club’s two pre-season yo-yo tests, she's often set the benchmark for fitness around the club, providing motivation for her teammates to catch and eclipse her.

That running capacity was on full show on Saturday, with her goal-saving tackle on Geelong’s Rachel Kearns one of the key turning points of the game, running in off the wing to pull down her opponent.

“The wing suits my running and I really enjoy it mainly for the running, which is a bit weird to say,” she said. “I’ve loved learning that wing role … especially off of Kaitlyn Ashmore, she’s such a role model to learn off.

“I think just continuing to learn that role and playing my part for the team will hopefully hold me in good stead.”

Before Smith took to football, any pathway to the elite level was non-existent. Even in her time at the top level though, that pathway continues to strengthen. Smith says the future of the competition looks bright.

“It’s really exciting. You see so many juniors and so many little girls playing footy, and they can play all the way up until AFLW.

“There’s a really good pathway there now and it’s going to be really exciting to see where the competition can go."