NRLW 2021: Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, profiling 22 rookies for NRLW in 2022
Ahead of the rescheduling of the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership, NRL.com is showcasing the competition’s rising young shoots ready to make their mark in 2022.
- Name: Tiana Raftstrand Smith
- Age: 18 years old
- NRLW Club: Titans
- Position: Utility
Fans first became acquainted with Tiana Raftstrand-Smith in 2021 when she won the player of the tournament title at the Harvey Norman Nationals and the selection for Queensland in the Women’s Home State in June.
A graduate of Keebra Park High School, Raftstrand-Smith grew up playing rugby sevens before moving to the rugby league as a teenager.
Building her game as a five-eighth, the 18-year-old has also floated between back row, crosses and lockdown over the past 12 months while playing for Burleigh and representative teams.
She formed a powerful last row combination for Queensland with Tazmin Gray in the Origin Women, running 74 yards with three tackle stops, one offload and 18 tackles in her debut.
“I didn’t think I was going to come back to the league [in 2021] but coming back was a great decision, âRaftstrand-Smith told NRL.com.
Rookie Watch: The Awesome Utility of the Titans Tiana Raftstrand-Smith
âI’m learning so much about the game and just want to improve myself. Tazmin is a great leader, I love to learn from her and she sets an example through her actions.
“It’s cool to be under his wing. Everything about this Origin game was exciting and I want to be a part of it again.”
Raftsrand-Smith is one of 13 possible rookies on the NRLW Titans squad for the rescheduled 2021 competition and has two short-term goals; Lock a spot on Jamie Feeney’s NRLW squad and win his Maori All Star debut.
“It’s one of the great things I would love to do, I love my culture and watching the game before the week focuses on that,” she said.
âI’m trying to stay in halftime next year, but honestly I’d just love to make my NRLW debut, play for the Titans and represent the community.
“Especially with our new logo at the club and everything, it’s a new environment for everyone and we can’t wait to build from here.”
Titans mainstay Steph Hancock got nothing but praise for Raftstrand-Smith ahead of the season’s start in February.
âShe’s going to be a star, this kid, from what I’ve seen of her before,â Hancock said.
“I’m glad she’s on my squad. There are a few we have at the club like her, Destiny Brill is anotherâ¦ it’s a scary prospect for the opposition.”