Freya Taylor - a Soaring Swan
The Sydney Swans: the name says it all. The Swans are one of those Australian Football League (AFL) clubs that have awe about them. They are the Sydney Swans.
Even despite the Swans not being a part of the ‘big 4’ AFL clubs and having a varied level of success throughout the past decade – they remain a highly recognisable club in a city that is iconic are the globe.
Now this proud club that once called South Melbourne home is set to welcome a new chapter in its history.
Next year, in 2023, will mark the debut season of the Sydney Swans AFLW side. Preparations for their entry into the competition are well underway with several signings having been made already.
And some of their potential future signings were on display during the Swans' Summer Series clash against cross-town rival, the GWS Giants.
One such player donning the red and white was Inner West prospect, Freya Taylor.
“I have loved every minute of being a part of the Swans and it’s awesome to see so many girls driven with the same goals as me,” Freya said about her time on the Summer Series team. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be in the team.”
“And it has been a massive learning experience. I have met so many new girls from different teams and everyone is so supportive and wants to push you to be the best you can.”
“The coaches and staff work so hard, giving us strength and conditioning programs, nutritional advice, recovery options.”
Freya’s introduction into the Swans program has been the latest chapter in her long football journey – a journey that began with AusKick at the Inner West Football Club at the age of 6.
“My dad grew up in Melbourne and played reserves for Sydney Swans. So ever since I was a little girl I have always had a love for the game,” Freya said when asked why she chose football.
Yet despite loving the game, her sporting life was forced to take a different path because the lack of a junior girl’s side meant that she wasn’t able to play after AusKick.
Thankfully, after two years of soccer for Sydney Olympic, Freya returned to football and joined the newly formed junior girls’ team at Inner West.
Returning to the sport that she had loved ever since she was a little girl; Freya used her unquestionable passion for the sport to slowly carve a promising and bright path within it. “There honestly isn’t just one part of footy that I love,” Freya said when questioned on why she is so passionate about footy. “I love it all.”
“From meeting new people to, pushing myself to learn new skills, achieving goals I have had since I was a little girl, going to Richmond games with my dad.”
Continuing to hold this love for the game, Freya kept growing and developing until she finally reached her breakout year in 2020.
Amazingly, in 2020 Freya also decided to play touch football alongside her usual footy commitments - and she found success within it almost instantly.
She played in the Junior State Cup in Wagga and the Senior State Cup in Port Macquarie, with her junior side making it to the semi-final where they were unfortunately knocked out.
“Overall, it was such a great experience. The coaches were so supportive and amazing. I enjoyed playing touch but because footy commitments became more important I decided to stop playing.”
And, to be fair, her football commitments certainly became more important during 2020.
For starters, her team at Inner West made the women’s Premier Division Grand Final but lost. Whereas her under-16s team, which she was captained, went one further by winning the under-16s Junior Premiership.
“We started in Div. 1 but were unable to stay there because we struggled a lot with numbers and most of the girls were new to AFL,” she said reflecting on the premiership.
“I was captain of the team, so it was also a sort of a coaching role for me as well. So being able to win was a memorable experience for sure. And a day I will never forget.”
Then, having made it a year to remember, this premiership captain was crowned as the 2020 AFL Sydney Harbor Junior’s Best and Fairest.
This amazing performance within the AFL Sydney competition led her to be selected for the 2021 Sydney Swans Academy – which ultimately led to this year’s appearance on the Swans Summer Series team.
Continuing to make strides within the world of footy; Freya has recently been selected for the NSW/ACT under-18s squad and had also begun training with the Swans High Performance Squad.
And this soaring Swan will also take to the field this weekend with Port Melbourne in the Victoria Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition.
As for what comes next; Freya already has some goals that she would love to achieve.
“A few of my current goals are making the Winter Series team and making the Premier Division Grand Final for Wests and playing in it.”
With silky skills, leadership experience, and a true team-first mentality - Freya Taylor will continue to develop into a key player for Inner West; and maybe one day, she will take her footy to the next level.
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All of these images have been kindly supplied by Freya Taylor.