Fans Players

Players’ Voice — Tayla Harris

Relief was the overriding emotion when the trade to Carlton went through on Thursday afternoon.

There was a few weeks of waiting to find out whether I would reach the destination I was after and that’s the nature of playing this great game.

But now the excitement begins. Starting at a new club is a challenge I’m looking forward to and I want to show my new teammates and coaches that I’m willing to work hard and play well.

When the first AFLW season finished up at the end of March, I spent a bit of time reflecting and considering what the future holds — as I’m sure everyone else did — because there wasn’t much time to do that such was the whirlwind of the new competition.

Being 20 years old, there’s no better time than now to change up my lifestyle and an appealing part of moving to Melbourne was the opportunity to grow as a person as well as on the footy field.

There’s obviously a lot more scrutiny and more media attention in Melbourne so that’ll be a challenge but to play at the heart of Aussie Rules football is exciting.


I look at Brisbane, which is where I’ve been my whole life, and I know what it’s all about, whereas Melbourne holds so many new opportunities.

I wanted to tell Brisbane’s coach, Craig Starcevic, myself when I made the decision. I have a really close relationship with Craig, he’s been there through youth girls programs and he’s such a great person.

When I called him, everything was going OK initially but three minutes in he asked me if I liked it at Brisbane and the waterworks started flowing as I tried to tell him it wasn’t Brisbane or anyone’s fault.

That was easily the hardest part. Not only to tell Craig I was leaving but to explain it in a way that ensured it wasn’t personal and that I appreciated everything Brisbane did for me.

He was actually one of the first people to message and congratulate me when the trade went through and we’ll be lifelong friends.

I met with a few Melbourne clubs but Carlton’s staff members, including coach Damian Keeping, gave off a really good first impression. I felt comfortable with them straight away and that was an important factor for me.

In terms of moving to Melbourne, I have experience living out of home, so it will be much the same except for the fact it’s 1,500km further away.

Carlton has also expressed that returning to Brisbane for a period of time for any reason will be available to me. So I know I have those support networks in place, which adds a level of security when making the move south.

I hope to move to Melbourne within the next few months. I’m also aiming to pull on the boots for the St Kilda Sharks this coming winter and continue my boxing ventures when I find a gym.

It’s sad to leave Brisbane because they gave me the opportunity to start my AFLW journey and the girls were awesome — I’ll be forever grateful for them for that experience.

But in saying that, I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds.