Meet Tayla Smith, Tweed's recruit of the year
OF all the Tweed Seagulls' key off-season acquisitions, there is one fans may have heard little about.
Tayla Smith, who like current coach Ben Woolf crossed over to the Tweed from the Gold Coast Titans at the beginning of 2018, has been just as crucial to the fabric of the revitalised Seagulls as Woolf or first-year skipper Cheyne Whitelaw.
Tomorrow, the club gets the chance to celebrate just what her presence down at Piggabeen means with the Women In League Round.
That contribution, according to Seagulls CEO Paul Stephenson, is indispensable.
"It was a really powerful thing when one of the first things Ben Woolf said when he got to the club was that he wanted to get Tayla on board,” Stephenson said.
While Stephenson sees the symbolism of Women In League Round as important to acknowledge, he believes that the Seagulls organisation, now with key female decision-makers such as Brigid Davey driving the future of the club, should be celebrating the contribution and capability of women in league every week.
"It's a great thing to celebrate, but the contribution to women in our game is best recognised week-in, week-out by the fact that they're the best people professionally at their jobs.”
Tayla, he said, was the perfect example:
"As a club we all see that Tayla's personality around the club and her professional commitment is unbelievable.”
While Tayla's contributions aren't going unnoticed, she wanted to give a shout out to all the women involved at the Seagulls and in footy generally ahead of the club's clash - its final match of the season - against PNG Hunters.
"What women do for the game is really significant. Whether it be from medical staff to the canteen or simply helping get the guys out on the field,” Tayla said.
The next step is establishing a women's side as soon as possible.
"There's been talk of the possibility for a women's team next year and I think that's very exciting.
"You just had to look at the Women's State of Origin showcase. Women can hit as hard as the men, it was so awesome to see.”
- Sunday's Women In League Round celebration and Tweed Seagulls Family Day, including activities and prizes, starts at 11am with free entry for women and under 18s all day, with the seniors match against PNG Hunters at 2.15pm.