tayla harris

​Meet Tayla Harris: The Teenage Wunderkind Of The Australian Women's Football League

This is how you make a name for yourself in women's AFL.
16 February 2017, 11:20pm
Image: Youtube

"She could get a game in the men's Brisbane Lions side," one fan wrote over social media.

In many ways, this comment seems laughable, but after watching Tayla Harris destroy all-comers in the first two rounds of the new AFL Women's competition, you wouldn't put it past her to give the men a run for their money.

Harris grew up in Brisbane's northern suburbs and began playing competitive football for Aspley when she was five years old. Until she was 13, she played in a mixed competition with girls and boys. Two years later, she made the jump to senior footy, and played for Zillmere in the QAWFL, winning the best and fairest award and the premiership, all in her first season.

After representing her beloved Queensland in the Youth Girls competition, she was drafted across to Melbourne where she took part in the AFL Women's exhibition series, with most matches played as the undercard to senior male matches.

Fast forward to today, and if you watched her steer the Brisbane Lions ship in the opening two rounds of the inaugural AFL Women's competition, you would understand why Harris is one of the hottest sporting prospects Australia has to offer.

Despite the fanfare about the signings of Harris and fellow marquee player Sabrina Frederick-Traub, not many people had Brisbane in the frame as potential 2017 premiers. However, the Lions are now two wins from two starts, and have all the momentum as they head to this weekend's third round, home-ground clash against Collingwood, which will be held at South Pine Sports Complex in Brisbane's north on Saturday afternoon.

The round one win over Melbourne was a scrappy affair in shocking stormy conditions, but last Sunday's win over Fremantle in Perth sent shockwaves through the competition. The Lions mean business, and their key enforcer is one Tayla Harris.

Against the Dockers, Harris kicked two crucial goals and took seven contested marks to give the Lions some attacking punch. Some have named her as the female counterpart of triple-premiership-winning Lions legend Jonathan Brown, who typified Aussie rules footy through his fearless, courageous, all-or-nothing assault on the footy. Any time you can get compared to 'Browny', you'll get Lions fans teeming through the gates to check what the fuss is all about.

Harris entered the AFL Women's competition already as one of the emerging stars in footy. She was a known quantity, but when she rose above Fremantle's defence with minutes left on the clock on the weekend, she truly made her presence felt. She cut through the pack to take a brilliant contested mark, before slotting the ball between the posts from 40 metres out to seal her team's second victory from as many games. She made it look effortless.

The future looks brighter than ever for Women's football.

"I think I was quite oblivious when I was little, because I didn't know that you couldn't (play professional women's footy). I just figured that I'd make it happen eventually, somehow," she told 7 News Toowomba last year. "I just thought I could play with the boys forever."

"I love saying to a little girl that goes, 'I want to grow up and play AFL', and say back to her, 'Yes, you can."