Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Bronze statue unveiled celebrating football star Tayla Harris’ incredible kick

Anna Byrne, September 11, 2019 7:00PM Herald Sun

Print Article

AFLW star Tayla Harris gets a selfie with fans at the unveiling of a prototype statue that will be made to recognise her achievements in women's football at Federation Square, Melbourne, Victoria, September 11, 2019. Picture: AAP media_cameraAFLW star Tayla Harris gets a selfie with fans at the unveiling of a prototype statue that will be made to recognise her achievements in women's football at Federation Square, Melbourne, Victoria, September 11, 2019. Picture: AAP

sport

Reading level: green

The Tayla Harris kick that sparked global headlines and marked a turning point in attitudes to women’s sport in Australia is being preserved forever in bronze.

Standing 3.3m, the statue captures the famous photograph by Michael Wilson of the AFLW player’s extraordinarily athletic high kick.

AFLW Rd 7 - Western Bulldogs v Carlton media_cameraThe photo on which the statue is based of Tayla Harris kicking the ball during the AFLW match between Western Bulldogs and Carlton Blues on March 17, 2019. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media

Harris unveiled a prototype* of the statue at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday morning.

The photograph of the kick made headlines when it attracted inappropriate social media behaviour and fuelled a global conversation around respect for female athletes, inclusivity* and the power of community.

AFLW star Tayla Harris trolled over kick photo

Harris said she was humbled* by the statue, which was commissioned by AFLW sponsor NAB.

“It is surreal to see it, although I don’t think I will fully understand or appreciate the significance of it for another 20 years,” she said.

“For me at the time, I never wanted anyone to pity me, particularly because I felt so empowered* and strong.”

Harris said she hopes that fans gain strength from the statue.

“I hope people pose with it and take photos and that it helps people feel confident and see that good things can come from being brave,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, young or old — everyone has a right to do what they love.”

Tayla Harris, who hopes people pose with the statue and take photos and that it helps people feel confident and see that good things can come from being brave. media_cameraTayla Harris, who hopes the statue helps people see that good things can come from being brave. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

Created by New South Wales sculptor Terrance Plowright, the completed statue is expected to weigh a tonne and take 2000 hours to make, with a permanent site yet to be determined.

NAB’s Rachel Slade said she hoped it empowered men and women of all ages to stand up for what they believed in.

“Bronze statues typically commemorate the greatness of an individual. This statue symbolises the potential of a generation,” Ms Slade said.

“When the kids of today saw that photo of Tayla, and when they see this statue, they shouldn’t see gender*. They should see strength, athleticism and possibility, and that has the power to change the future.”

Tayla Harris Statue media_cameraTayla Harris and Alyssa, 8, (who plays Harris in the NAB Mini Legend TV ad) and the life-size statue. Picture: Alex Coppel

GLOSSARY

  • prototype: sample or model to prepare for the final version
  • inclusivity: including people who may otherwise be excluded
  • humbled: realise you are only a tiny part of something much bigger and more important; or that someone or something else is much bigger or more important than just you
  • empowered: given the power to do something
  • gender: male or female

EXTRA READING

Footy star slams internet trolls

Bittersweet AFLW Grand Final win for Phillips

Footy pioneer plays 350th

Success for Aussie strongwoman

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is a prototype?
  2. Who does Tayla Harris say has the right to do what they love?
  3. How tall and how heavy will the final statue be?
  4. Is it known yet where the final statue will go? Where do you think it should go?
  5. What does Ms Slade think kids should see when they look at the statue?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Write the inscription
An inscription is a piece of writing that is often on the base of statues. It explains what people need to know about the statue and why it was created. Sometimes there is a special quote to inspire them.

Write an inspirational inscription for Tayla’s statue.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking., Civics and Citizenship

2. Extension
Tayla’s story shows us something very positive coming out of a nasty situation. What are some of the other things that you think we can all learn from this? Write down as many as you can think of.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Civics and Citizenship

VCOP ACTIVITY
Throw kindness like confetti
Thursday September 12 is ‘R U OK Day’. Tayla Harris’ journey in the AFLW has been quite an emotional roller-coaster, and through it all she has empowered woman young and old to follow their dreams and show strength in the face of diversity. We all need to take a page from her book, but your superpower will be to show compassion.

Today, your task is simple: You need to make someone smile. Not because you want something, but because you want to help make their day special.

See if you can find someone who looks a little stressed, sad, lonely, or maybe just not themselves. It can be another student, or an adult.

Ask them if they are ok, then give them a compliment or tell them a joke.

Can you make them smile?

If you struggle to talk to people, that’s ok. Can you write someone a kind note? Smile at them and wave? Maybe even a high five?

How did it make you feel?

HAVE YOUR SAY: How do you feel when you see this statue? What do you think the statue means? Is there something else that is important to you that you would like to see made into a statue?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

Extra Reading in sport