She’s been made to wait for her first AFLW match of 2020, but after being an emergency for the first two weeks Tayla Thorn is well-prepared to make her club debut this weekend.
Thorn already has five AFLW games to her name, but after taking time away from the game is eager to continue the next chapter of her footballing career.
“I’m very excited,” Thorn told the media on Friday morning.
“I can’t wait to get out there and play with the rest of the team.
“I’m definitely ready to play and give it my all and hopefully stay in the team.”
It will be a trial by fire for the 21-year-old Thorn who has been called up for the first ever AFLW QClash against the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
“The QClash is very big to Queensland,” Thorn said.
“It’s a massive rivalry, it’s going to be physical and harder.
“I’m ready for the big hits and the big tackles.
“You want to prove your best in this sort of game and it’s going to blow everyone’s mind away I reckon.”
Thorn describes the last few months of her life as a “rollercoaster of emotions”.
Originally from Darwin, Thorn was playing for the NT Thunder in the VFLW competition before being invited to play for Gold Coast in the QW Winter Series last year.
The SUNS liked what she had to offer in that series, and quickly signed her to the inaugural AFLW list.
It meant Thorn had to relocate her life for a second time, leaving her home city Darwin and was forced to find a new job.
It wasn’t easy.
But after two weeks on the sidelines, the brave defender was rewarded by AFLW Senior Coach David Lake with a place in the team, making her sacrifices worthwhile.
“The last two weeks have been pretty tough, I just had to train as hard as I could and prove that I could get in the team,” she said.
“When (Lakey) told me I cried, I was speechless and I’m never really speechless around Lakey.
“It was tears of joy and I walked over to Sam (Virgo) and she gave me a big hug and said I deserved it which made me cry even more.
“Training wasn’t over so I had to wipe those tears away and trained the rest of the day with a smile on my face.”
When Thorn runs out on the weekend, she’ll have family and friends in the crowd to support her in her first game in the red and gold.
Amongst them will be her mother and partner Brandon.
“They’re my biggest supporters so I think they’re more excited than I am,” Thorn said.
“Getting your first game means everything so I’m really excited.”