Queensland ruckman Tayla Harris has emerged as one of the standout players at the 2013 Youth Girls National Championships.
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Off the field she is a mild mannered 16-year-old, who is happy to blend into the crowd, but on it, Harris is attracting more than her share of attention from opposition teams and fans alike.
While Queensland remain winless after two games at the National Championships, Harris and her teammates have done their state proud with a never-say-die attitude and eight quarters of hard, unforgiving football.
Facing Vic Metro in the opening round of the competition was always going to be a tough ask but the scoreline that read Metro 8.5 (53) to 1.1 (7) didn’t do Queensland justice.
The girls from the sunshine state applied relentless pressure and seemed entrenched in the contest until the dying minutes of the match.
Harris, with her clean hands and the ability to put herself in the perfect position, shone as Vic Metro’s best tried to find a way past her at centre-half back.
Although Harris also dominated in the ruck, her contested marking in defence was one of the features of the match.
The girl from Brisbane, who plays her club football with Zillmere in the city’s senior womens’ league, was again prominent as Queensland fell 19-points shy of Western Australia.
After what she described as a quiet first half (many onlookers had her best on ground at the main break), Harris exploded on to the scene in the third term to put her side insight of an upset.
Unfortunately for Queensland, who had many other contributors including skipper Emily Bates and Jordan Zanchetta, Western Australia remained composed and finished strongly with the last three goals of the game.
After two gallant losses, Harris said it was disappointing not to have pinched a win on the opening days of the championships.
“In our first game against Vic Metro I thought we did pretty well but, because we haven’t played too much footy together, we weren’t quite ready to play against such a quality side,” Harris said.
“For our second game we were better prepared and our intensity was a lot better but unfortunately we couldn’t quite get over the line.”
Harris, now competing in her fourth Youth Girls National Championship, said she loved playing against the best underage players in the country.
“I’m friends with a lot of the girls from other teams so during the game it’s pretty competitive but afterwards it’s pretty good just to shake hand and have a chat.”
“We’re going to New Zealand at the end of the year with the academy so it’s good to know so many of the girls.”
Queensland take on Vic Country/Tasmania tomorrow in their final match of the preliminary rounds.