Casey Demons VFLWCasey Demons VFLWRuck Forward


Tahlia Gillard

height: 190cm


D.O.B: 12-12-2003

Leagues: AFLW, Vflw, Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships


Coming into the year as one of the more well known prospects, the 190cm, December born, AFLW Academy member impressed with her versatility for both the Calder Cannons and Vic Metro Under 19s side, and ability to maintain consistent impact whether in the ruck, forwardline or backline, with her aerial threat extremely difficult to nullify for opposition sides. STRENGTHS:

  • Mobility
  • Versatility
  • Size
  • Marking
  • Positioning


  • Scoreboard Conversion

  Gillard’s versatility has been one of her biggest strengths across her junior career, able to play multiple positions to a high level giving her a good base to prosper in the AFLW, with clubs sure to be attracted to her performances to date and potential improvement. An area of improvement for Gillard heading into the future is her scoreboard impact when playing forward. With her ability to hold contested marks and lead to the right spots, it’s her conversion that at times lets her down, kicking the three goals and six behinds in the 2021 NAB League season despite being in decent scoring spots. She does do a lot of things on field really well, with her skills in particular at a good level, she has a knack for seeking out and using the best option in most situations, whether that’s a handball out to a runner or a shorter kick to a leading option, she plays a team first brand. At her height she’s naturally good with her tap work, however she’s taken steps to improve on her actual ruck craft, competing well in body-on-body contests to gain front position and keep her opponent away from the ball, often resulting in her putting the ball into a perfect spot for her midfielders; that is, when she’s not winning her own clearances with her strong follow up work.  At the AFL Women’s U19 Championships she split her time between ruck and up forward as she did at NAB League level, offering those same strengths across both teams, and causing headaches for both Vic Country and WA who struggled to contain her in either role, finishing the carnival  averaging 12.5 disposals, three marks and 15 hitouts a game. In relation to the draft, Gillard’s versatility and height are a real point-of-difference compared to other prospects in the Victorian pool and will be considered well by many, as she is able to compete in the air and then have the athleticism to compete at ground level. Once she can hit the scoreboard more consistently with her chances inside 50, she will be a dangerous prospect in the future.



"The towering ruck/forward's AFL Women's Academy season makes it into the top 20 overall (third on these rankings) on the back of a solid overall season. Whilst she still needs to work on clunking more contested grabs above her head, Gillard's work around the ground and ability to get to repeat contests for a ruck and running as a midfielder is really impressive. Often towering over her opponents, Gillard moves incredibly well, and is a tall that teammates are not afraid to use in transition, as she rotated between the ruck and full forward to average 11.3 disposals and 14.1 hitouts, as well as a couple of inside 50s per game. A December birth, Gillard has plenty of upside that with time could develop into a damaging tall. There is a running theme with athletic and versatile rucks, and Gillard might have some development to go, but with the extra height - 13cm more than Prowse for example - she can certainly dominate with her mobility." - Peter Williams via "2021 AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks" "Pegged as one of the most promising key position options coming into the season, Gillard was another to hint at her potential as she waxed through the ruck and forwardline in 2021. She was difficult to beat in the ruck due to her sheer height, and proved just as potent aerially in her time up forward - showcasing good contested marking ability. Her athleticism is another big tick, and it is easy to see why she was selected in this year's AFLW Academy intake." - Michael Alvaro via "2021 NAB League Girls team review: Calder Cannons" "Started the day as the deepest Calder forward, with the coaching staff looking to take advantage of the Chargers' lack of height in defensive 50. She competed well when the ball entered attacking 50 and interestingly, despite being 190 cm, she looked at her best when the ball hit the ground as she followed up extremely well to get quick hands up to teammates. Unfortunately she dropped a few marks she would’ve usually held, perhaps due to the increased pace and pressure of finals." - Declan Reeve via "Top Performers: 2021 NAB League Girls - Elimination Finals"







2021Essendon VFLW155205002062316043.
2022Casey Demons VFLW5916751700263961810078.42.310.

Coates Talent League Girls

2019Calder Cannons3112439001634053583.
2020Calder Cannons131427500510023134.
2021Calder Cannons6217791400239901410378.92.411.

AFLW U18 Championships

2021Vic Metro Girls16925600530315128.04.512.
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