AFLW star Tayla Harris is reportedly asking for a $150,000 contract from Carlton to stay in football as the 24-year-old eyes of a return to the boxing ring.
Harris last fought professionally in 2019, but Footy Classified's Eddie McGuire reported on Wednesday night she is considering two bouts this year, one a world title shot.
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The news comes amid reports Harris and Carlton are in the midst of a 'pay stoush' over her contract demand, with the Blues reportedly baulking at the high asking price for the three-time leading goalkicker.
While Harris boasts an outstanding track record in AFLW, her 2021 season left a lot to be desired.
She finished outside the top 15 in Carlton's best and fairest count, having kicked just four goals in eight games.
“I can tell you exclusively tonight that Tayla Harris will be back in the ring on the 19th of May on a Sonny Bill Williams card and that will be a run round before she goes into full training,” McGuire told Footy Classified.
“My information tonight is that Tayla Harris will fight for the world boxing title in August this year.”
According to the Herald Sun, Carlton were unimpressed with Harris' professionalism last season, with the star forward missing a game after leaving a training session early to post on Instagram.
Harris' manager, Alex Saundy, said they were prepared for 'pretty robust' conversations with the club about her value.
As a Tier 2 player last season, Harris was paid $25,000 to play football alone, with a further $55,000 believed to have come marketing and employment roles.
“She absolutely wants to be at Carlton, she remains 100 per cent committed to Carlton and I’m prepared for pretty robust dialogue between myself and the club over the next two to three weeks,” Saundry said.
“We have started negotiations.
“I think she’s worth a significant amount. The commitment to Carlton and what she’s done over the past two years for the game locally, nationally and internationally carries a lot of weight."
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After Harris averaged just one contested mark and six disposals last season, Saundy admitted the coronavirus pandemic had affected Harris' ability to be in shape ahead of the season.
However she backed the AFLW icon to bounce back next season, suggesting her value to the league was far greater than her on-field contributions alone.
“Has she carried that weight (this year)? No. Does she rely on her team around her? Yes, to help her through that," Saundy said.
“I think she’s worth a hell of a lot, she’s worth over six figures to the game, absolutely.’’
McGuire, speaking on Footy Classified, was of a similar mind.
The former Collingwood Magpies president said it was on the AFL to make sure they league didn't lose talent to other sports, claiming it was also a 'marketing exercise'.
“The AFL, not Carlton, needs to look at whether you need to keep these people in the game," he said.
“It becomes a marketing exercise, it‘s got nothing to do with her football, it’s a pure marketing exercise.
“She is an icon already in many facets of her life and who she is and the way she plays the game.
“Is she worth $150,000 to play footy? No. Is she worth it for the game itself and what she‘s going to bring to the table? I think she’s a superstar – and I think the AFL have to look at that.”
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