Fans Players

Q&A — Tyla Hanks

Pick 6 in last year’s AFLW draft Tyla Hanks already has a solid football resume having captained the Gippsland Power and the All-Australia team. Ahead of her first AFLW season, the Melbourne Football Club’s Tyla Hanks spoke with about her journey to the AFLW, who she is as a footballer and what she spends her time doing. 

Football is a big part of your family so how did that influence your journey to the AFLW?

Yeah, my whole family has played football so since I was young my dad kept a footy in my hand. My younger brother, Max, and I played a lot of footy together and went to Auskick together so once he joined I just tagged along and it kept going from there. I played with the boys at Cora Lynn but when I couldn’t play there anymore I moved to Beaconsfield to play with the youth girls’ team.

You captained Gippsland Power in your top-age year in the TAC Cup, do you see yourself as a leader and what can those leadership traits that you display bring to the AFLW?

I think I never really saw myself as a leader so to get those acknowledgements was something that I was pretty proud of but at the same time I don’t traditionally lead by being loud or outspoken but rather by the way I play. Hopefully, I can use my work rate and my own leadership styles to earn the respect of the girls and work my way into the team.

After spending some time with Carlton’s VFLW team this year, how do you think playing with AFLW-listed players has helped you develop?

Yeah, it was a pretty good insight to see what it is actually like to get into the AFL, especially those girls like Tilly, Brie and and Sarah. They obviously go about it in the way that they do and it shows you how elite you have to be and you have to do all the right things at the right times. I think it’ll definitely help me going forward because I know the expectations that will be on me as an AFLW footballer. There’s a lot of hardwork coming up but I definitely know what to expect in that regard I think.

You also mentioned that you’re studying and working part-time, what does that involve for you?

I’m working casually at Bunnings in the paint department. Study-wise, I’ve finished my first year at ACU studying exercise science but I’m looking to make the transfer into Osteo.

How do you see yourself as a player?

I’ve played football for quite a long time so I think I’ve got a good footy IQ and am able to make good decisions with the ball based on that. Hopefully it’ll be one of my strengths heading into the AFLW. As a person, I’m pretty-easy going and I like to lead by the way I play and develop the girls below me but I’m also really looking forward to learning off the girls that are already in the system.

When I spoke with Alex Saundry she mentioned that she was your manager and also a coach in your junior days. What has her influence been like on you?

Yeah, she’s obviously my manager but I have known Alex for a long-time. The first year of Vic Metro I played she was one of the coaches and was awesome back then. She approached me coming into the draft and has been an awesome support for me. She’s someone who is good to talk to and knows the landscape of football so I was really wrapt to sign with Saundry. She’s been awesome so far and I look forward to whatever is to come.

Thanks for the chat Tyla. Good luck with your first season in the AFLW.

Thanks Kavisha.