The AFLW trade period got underway this week but marquee woman Tayla Harris could find herself without a contract for next season after questions were raised about her effort and application.
Last month it was reported Harris — who became the leading figure in women’s footy for taking a stance against online trolls who targeted an awesome photo of her in full flight — was seeking $150,000 a season from Carlton.
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Harris’ base salary would account for approximately $28,000, with the rest to be made up of income from marketing and promotional work.
However, talks with the Blues broke down and she will not be wearing navy next season.
Harris now either has to find another club or consider taking a year off from AFLW — something her manager Alex Saundry has already flagged.
Speaking on the AFL Daily podcast this week, journalist Nat Edwards said there are more reasons than just money clubs may be wary of chasing Harris’ signature.
“While I think it’s fair for her to command that kind of dollar because she is one of the most recognisable faces in the AFLW, if you’re a club that’s looking to make that kind of commitment you want to know that your player is 100 per cent committed, their attitude and dedication is there and of course form has to come into it as well,” Edwards said.
“And she didn’t have a great season last year. She’s got a boxing career and there are concerns at Carlton about her attitude at times. So clubs have question marks on her.
“There was an incident, she was dropped during the season. A lot of people thought she was managed by Carlton coach Daniel Harford. And there’s been talk about her being quite a divisive character at times, leaving the track early at training, things like that. So I think there are question marks about her attitude and her application.”
Ten out of the 14 AFLW clubs have reportedly ruled out pursuing Harris in the trade period, with only Melbourne, GWS, West Coast and St Kilda still in the running to snap up one of the most recognisable faces in the game.
Edwards highlighted Harris’ talent and broad public appeal, but that may not be enough to keep her in the game next season.
“At her best though she is an incredible player. Super when it comes to contested marks, she’s got a great kick on her. But she’s at a crossroads now,” she said.
“The dilemma now is you either lower the asking price or you sit out this season and focus on boxing, and I think it might be the latter.”
Harris’ future is up in the air.Source:News Corp Australia
It is looking likely Harris will sit out the next AFLW season to focus on her boxing career, with an eye to returning to footy the following season when four more teams are added to the competition as part of the league’s expansion.
AFLW reporter Sarah Black believes “it’s going to be tricky” for Harris to find a home at a club that will be able to fit her in their salary cap for next season.
“It’s a fairly tough combination of her asking price — which is made up of the tier salary and then additional marketing costs, which I think we all acknowledge she deserves, she’s one of the big faces of the comp — but also just the room in people’s teams,” Black said in a video posted to the AFLW website.
“The clubs only have lists of 30 and some have quite established forward lines. So the combination of the price and room pretty much is going to make things tricky.”
Black said “it’s feasible” Harris will take a year off from AFLW before returning, “especially when you see expansion on the horizon and those teams will be looking to build their team from the ground up”.
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