Rising Melbourne Vixens star Allie Smith says she’s ready to step up in the Super Netball grand final if midcourt weapon Kate Eddy is unable to recover from a foot injury that ruled her out of the opening week of playoffs.
Smith, who had played just five Super Netball games before being called into the Vixens’ semi-final side when Eddy was ruled out, was outstanding in the win against the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, shutting down the Lightning’s former Diamonds midcourter Laura Scherian.
Eddy injured her foot in the Vixens’ final fixture of the season and was on the sidelines at the weekend on crutches with a boot on her foot.
She has had scans but coach Simone McKinnis said she was not sure how long her star would be sidelined.
“How long, not sure. We just aim this week to have her (be able to) do some more stuff and we just assess it as we go,” McKinnis said.
Missing the grand final would be a massive blow for Eddy, who had to watch the NSW Swifts’ premiership run from the sidelines last season due to injury before signing with the Vixens.
But if she has to be replaced, the Vixens have every faith in Smith, 20, to fill her shoes.
“I do have great faith in Allie, she’s been part of our training squad for a couple of years now and I’ve always thought that she’s pretty special and she just has the confidence to step out there and do the job that’s needed,” McKinnis said.
Vixens captain Kate Maloney also praised Smith.
“We were shattered for Kate (Eddy) that she couldn’t play today but Allie stepped in and did an amazing job and that’s been the thing for us this season, we’ve got a deep squad at the moment,” Maloney said.
“Well done to Allie, she really killed it out there, I love playing alongside her and hopefully we can have them both back for the grand final.
“(Smith) has stepped up each time she’s got an opportunity and the way she held the ball up defensively was really great and she’s just absolutely slotted in.”
While Eddy’s withdrawal was not public knowledge until game day, Smith knew from the middle of last week she was likely to play.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system but you train hard and us training partners are alongside the girls the whole time,” Smith said.
“There’s always nerves, nerves are good. But what’s not to love about playing a great side and with a quality side like our side.
“I’m shattered for Kate (Eddy) but hopefully we’ll both be out on the sidelines next time.”