Tayla Harris’ iconic kicking action has been immortalised in bronze.
The Carlton AFLW star was present as a 3.3m tall statue of her in full flight was unveiled in Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday.
Commissioned by AFLW major sponsor NAB and sculpted by NSW artist Terrance Plowright, the work depicts photographer Michael Willson’s famous snap of Harris, taken during the Blues’ win over Western Bulldogs during the 2019 AFLW season.
The image was shared to Harris’ Instagram as well as several outlets’ social media channels, with 7AFL infamously removing the post amid plenty of derogatory comments.
7AFL eventually re-shared the photo, with Harris receiving a great deal of support from the football community.
Following the photo and subsequent reaction, the 22-year-old has been outspoken against ‘trolls’ and those wishing to disparage female athletes.
Similarly, opinion was divided following the unveiling of the statue, with some questioning whether Harris deserved to be honoured ahead of other female sporting identities, while others pointed out that the work was about more than just the footballer.
Tayla Harris gets a statue ahead of the likes of Cathy Freeman, Lauren Jackson, Ellyse Perry, Sally Pearson, Karrie Webb and Michelle Timms? 🤨🤨
— Ronny Lerner (@RonnyLerner) September 11, 2019
I went to see the Tayla Harris statue and on the base the plaque says “more than a kick” and that is exactly why the statue has been made.
Tayla Harris is the face of a movement and a turning point for women in sport, it’s not just about her achievements, it’s for much more.
— Lucy Watkin (@lucywato_) September 11, 2019
Harris herself said she was prepared for any backlash.
“I actually said to my mum, because she is affected much more than I am, and asked her to try not to read comments because people are going to say — and it’s tall poppy syndrome — that I don’t deserve this,” Harris said.
The statue will sit in Federation Square for the duration of the AFL finals, with a permanent location yet to be decided.
Plowright said that he’d like to see it outside the MCG among the other statues of sporting greats.