AFLW Rising Star Player Focus: Tahlia Gillard (Melbourne)
IN our new series of Player Focuses, we are taking a specific look at one of the Rising Star nominees each week, and their nominee worthy performances. This week’s focus is on Tahlia Gillard, who finally earned herself a Rising Star nomination after a breakthrough season where she has taken the opportunity with both hands that was given to her by Gabby Colvin‘s injury.
AFLW Season 7: Round 9 – Melbourne 7.8 (50) def. Essendon 1.3 (9)
Player Focus: Tahlia Gillard (Melbourne)
Stats: 9 disposals, 2 tackles, 6 intercepts, 77.8 disposal efficiency
Much of Gillard’s work in the first quarter was around intercepting the ball and clearing it out of defence, with the Dees really utilising her height to their advantage. Gillard began her involvement in the game with an intercept pick up inside defensive 50 and cleared it up the wing with a kick that ultimately went about halfway up the wing.
She later dropped an intercept mark just outside forward 50 for the Dees but will still able to wrap up the player who did end up with the ball in Daria Bannister so it did not end up going anywhere.She had another intercept mark later in the quarter, and also landed several tackles during the quarter.
There was very little for Gillard to do in the second term. Playing on that last line of defence, her communication from behind directed traffic and she helped coordinate her team mates from behind. However, she did touch the ball a few times.
Early on in the quarter, she was out the back of a pack in defensive 50, the ball dropped behind the pack and she was able to mop up and clear it. Unfortunately for Gillard the ball ended up in the hands of Jacqui Vogt, but thankfully for Gillard Vogt’s kick went straight out on the full. She also used her height to her advantage to thwart a shot on goal by Amber Clarke by touching the ball on the line.
With her side continuing to put the foot down in the third term, things were pretty cruisy for Gillard in the third term but she still did not go through the quarter without touching the ball. Much like earlier in the game, her role continued to be to use her long kicking skills to clear the ball out of Melbourne’s defence.
Her first long kick of the quarter was badly affected by the swirly wind and ended up out of bounds on the full, while her second landed safely up the ground. She also landed another great tackle on Bannister to stop her getting rid of the ball.
Gillard again did not have too much to do in the final term as Melbourne kept growing their lead for a bit of a percentage booster. Early on in the quarter she was racing Georgia Gee back for the ball, but was able to bump her out of the way so she could not get the ball. Unfortunately she ultimately could not get the ball either, but her work ensured the ball stayed out of Bomber hands.