Former Sydney Swans forward Elijah Taylor has spoken for the first time since being sacked from the AFL club following his conviction for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
The 19-year-old's AFL career came crashing down following the November conviction, for which he was spared jail and fined $5000 for attacking his former partner, Lekhani Pearce.
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The Swans were supported by the AFL in sacking Taylor, who is now attempting to revive his professional career with WAFL club Perth.
However the state league club has made it clear to Taylor he's on a one-strike, zero-tolerance policy for further incidents.
In an interview with 7News Perth, Taylor said he blamed himself for what had happened and added the saga had caused him to fall into a state of depression.
“I just felt really down about it,” Taylor said.
“I blame myself for what happened. I know it was wrong.
“Afterwards I was feeling pretty low about myself for a couple of months.
“I didn’t want to come back to footy.
“I just got lazy and started sleeping like 12, 14 hours a day. It was a pretty bad time for me.”
Taylor is being mentored by former AFL player Brady Grey at Perth, with the teenager vowing to do whatever to took to return to the AFL ranks - however it remains unclear whether there is any interest at all from other clubs.
“I know it’s going to be a long road for that to happen but I’m willing to do anything it takes just to be where I was in the AFL,” Taylor said.
WA's eased restrictions a relief to AFL
Western Australia's strict border stance on visitors from Victoria is on track to be eased ahead of the AFL season, saving the league from altering its fixture.
However, that is all dependent on no further community transmission of COVID-19 in Melbourne.
Victoria is the only state still subject to any WA border restrictions.
The southern state on Friday recorded two new coronavirus positives, but they were close contacts of existing cases and had already been quarantining.
WA premier Mark McGowan said Victoria will reach his government's target of 28 consecutive days without community spread on March 13 - five days before the scheduled AFL season-opener.
"After that point in time I'd expect that we'll move to soften the border if Victoria doesn't have community spread," McGowan told reporters.
The AFL has committed to an unchanged opening round starting on March 18, but beyond that will prove difficult if WA's border conditions do not ease.
Fremantle will tackle Melbourne at the MCG in round one, while the Eagles are due to play the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium the following weekend.
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