NEW Melbourne midfielder, Tyla Hanks has experienced it all coming into her first AFL Women’s season.
After enduring a winless 2017 season with the Gippsland Power, her side improved to a 3-5 season this year. Hanks also represented Vic Country and spent some time with Carlton’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side, leading the way in disposals in her first match. The 18 year-old admits she knew going to Melbourne was something that could happen, but nonetheless is thrilled to be able to pull on the Demons jumper in 2019.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen before that pick but yeah, I’m really excited to be there and definitely think it’s a place that’s going to be really good for me,” Hanks said.
Hanks was one of the first names to be called out on draft day, walking up on stage as a pick six selection for the Demons. When she realised she had got drafted, a mixture of emotions overwhelmed her.
“It’s a really amazing feeling but it’s pretty raw sometimes,” Hanks said. “It’s a lot of relief once you’re up there so really looking forward to it.”
This milestone also brings an element of sadness though, as Hanks will leave her beloved Gippsland Power to pursue an AFL Women’s career. Gippsland experienced a nice form turnaround this year, getting a couple of wins along the way. Despite being busy with the Demons, the Power midfielder hopes to come back to the club and help out its next generation.
“It was a pretty big turnaround for us but yeah I’m really excited for what they can do in the coming years,” Hanks said. “I was really happy to be a part of that and I’ll still try and keep contact with Gippsland Power and keep helping the development out there.”
Hanks also reflects on her time at Carlton and the AFL Women’s Academy, citing both as memorable and helpful experiences.
“I think playing against Geelong (in the VFLW) really helped me,” she said. “So did the AFL Academy, I think learning about the whole environment really held us in good stead.”
Now a Demon, Hanks of course admires the work of Daisy Pearce. But she also has another player in mind that she is looking forward to playing alongside.
“I think Lily Mithen’s someone that’s a really good character in the group,” Hanks said. “Even though Daisy Pearce will be out, hopefully she’ll still be around and I’ll learn a little bit off her.”