'I'm human too': Tayla Harris' confession over AFLW abuse

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Tayla Harris has long been the target of abuse on social media.
Tayla Harris has spoken about the brutal toll years of online abuse has taken on her AFLW career in a new documentary. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Tayla Harris was back at her AFLW best this season, but the career-high 18 goals she booted weren't enough to stem the tide of horrific abuse directed at her online.

The 24-year-old has long been open about the extent of trolling she puts up with on a regular basis.

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Ever since the memorable image of her launching a drop punt in 2019 went viral and lead to a barrage of disgusting comments, Harris has seemingly had substantially more to prove to her detractors.

She has opened up about the difficulties of the last few seasons in a new documentary for Amazon Prime, entitled, 'Kick Like Tayla'.

Harris was traded to Melbourne last year after her time at Carlton came to a somewhat acrimonious end, amid reports she was unhappy at training and was asking the club for a massive new $150,000 deal to remain with the Blues.

Amidst the controversy Harris' on-field performances began to diminish - only furthering the hatred she faced on social media.

Harris discusses the abuse in a newly-released trailer for the series, admitting that 'for various reasons, things fell apart' during her time with Carlton.

“I know what they say. They tell me every day. I’m overrated, overpaid, just some girl who got lucky with a photo," she said.

“But they have no idea who I really am.

“I don’t know what I expected with life becoming so public but I thought, if you just try to be kind, people will be kind back to you. The world doesn’t necessarily work that way.

“Now every step I took, or every thing I did, was judged.”

Tayla Harris details disgusting AFLW abuse in documentary

The trailer also showed Harris reading out some of the worst of the abuse she had copped, including one comment calling to 'burn her at the stake'.

Another comment called for the statue of Harris ion Melbourne's Federation Square, designed to commemorate a watershed moment in women's football, to be pulled down.

“People roasted me for never smiling, and never singing the song. I was like, what do you mean? I’m always smiling. I’m with my best mates, playing footy," Harris said.

“I’m human too. So of course it gets to me sometimes.”

Harris got back to her best with the Demons this season, helping them all the way to the AFLW grand final, where they were outpointed by the Adelaide Crows.

Tayla Harris was back to her AFLW best with Melbourne this season.
After a difficult stint with Carlton, Tayla Harris rediscovered her best AFLW form in 2022, helping Melbourne make it to the Grand Final. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The move to Melbourne proved to be a fruitful one for Harris, who has opened up numerious times about the pressure she has faced.

Even her manager, Alex Saundry, has discussed just how much of an impact the abuse had on Harris.

“[Trolling] is pretty common, especially in the direct messages section of Instagram, if the girls are having a bad game or moving clubs,” Saundry told The Age back in 2019.

Saundry, who manages a number of AFLW players, said the messages were “astonishing, threatening, violating. It’s horrific.”

“Criticism comes with the game, but there needs to be at least an element of controlling it online.

“It definitely does take a toll [on the players] mentally.”

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