Jaida Tabb - the High-Flying Product
"Just get out there and get their hands on the footy as much as possible. Make sure they can kick and handball both left and right, it is a game changer."
It was certainly a long time coming for Woodville-West Torrens, whom after joining the SANFL Women’s competition in 2019, was yet to claim their first victory. The Eagles came close to ending the drought during the first two rounds of the 2020 season, yet both times they ended up losing by less than a goal.
With their record in the SANFLW standing at thirteen straight losses—they then faced off against Glenelg, who were coming off a fifty-point win from the previous week. It was this Round Four clash that saw the Eagles debut Jaida Tabb, the younger sister of the then Eagle product and former Crow, Jaimi Tabb.
Most debuts would want to win their first game, but when your side is sitting with a 0-13 record—that desire to win is made that extra bit stronger. For Jaida, leading up to the first bounce she was “very nervous but pumped at the same time”.
As the game got underway, things were not looking good early for the Eagles as the halftime score line read 2.2 (14) to 3.2 (20) in favour of the Tigers.
But for Jaida, her thoughts were elsewhere—and she was too busy to worry about what was on the scoreboard.
“I just was feeling like I better not stuff up or Tess will drag me.”
But something rather remarkable happened under the lights at X Convenience Oval. As the Eagles went onto score four goals during the second half while not conceding anything to win, 7.3 (45) to 3.2 (20)—their first win in the SANFLW.
With the match over, the debutant also was finally able to soak up the win which she labels as being her favourite footballing moment thus far. These feelings were also shared and reflected by majority of the side post-match, who were simply “over the moon”.
“… The room was electric, and everyone was so happy.”
This was the introduction of Jaida Tabb at SANFLW level, but she has been impressing at local level over the past two and a half years.
Originally, Jaida was heavily involved in basketball and she also played netball. As for how she became interested in football, she says that she owes that one to her sister, Jaimi. It is also this sister connection to football that helped with her early development.
“Jaimi does teach me some tips and tricks. She is always up for a kick and a few kicks at goals too.”
However, it seems as if it is not just her sister that has impacted her football, but rather her whole family.
“My mum … she used to drive up and back to Adelaide at least three to four times a week just to get me to trainings and games, while working full time.”
“Dad also gives me really good tips on field, what I need to do to win the ball and make an impact while he works away and still watching my game via live stream.”
Switching from basketball to football, her journey began at SMOSH West Lakes, and they must have left a good impression on the youngster because, “if things all go well, I should be back but have not had the opportunity due to COVID”.
Another reason why she may be so keen to return to the Lions is because of the strong debut season she had with them, during which she claimed their Best and Fairest and also finished third best in the U16 association medal count.
But overall, she says that SMOSH West Lakes is “a great program and club”.
“… Great coaches and standard at trainings. Their excellence is evident in how many SANFLW players they have produced.”
This dominant display with the Lions also led her to gain a spot in the Woodville-West Torrens’ female program.
“My time at the Eagles has been fantastic, I have loved it since I got there. The playing group are great, love to have a laugh but also know when to push you.”
“And the coaching staff have worked to really improve my footy skills. I am so thankful for my time at Eagles thus far.”
Swapping the Eagle green with Croweater red, she has also been a part of the 2020 and 2021 South Australian state squads, albeit with the 2020 games cancelled courtesy of COVID.
So, what is the next chapter for this High-Flying Eagle Product?
“My footy goals are at the moment in terms of short-term goals is to become a consistent player for the Eagles.”
“I would definitely like to get some more wins on the board as a team. And surely I get my first goal in SANFLW that would be pretty wicked too.”
And there is also one long-time goal in mind.
“I would absolutely love to play AFLW. Ultimate dream.”
Jaida Tabb is a tough, fast paced player so looking long term, there is a strong chance that she could one day become the second Tabb to play an AFLW game.
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None of these photographs are owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.