Tayissa Gray - the Breakout Bushranger
Holding a high level of determination and with the athleticism to match, Tayissa Gray has managed to carve a promising footballing journey all while juggling her footy commitments with those for her basketball, work, and school.
Currently playing with the Murray Bushrangers in the NAB League Girls competition, this hard-working prospect has enjoyed a decent footballing journey to date, yet 2019 has proven to be her breakout season.
But before we get caught up with her previous three years of impressive footy, it is best to start at the very beginning of Tayissa’s footballing journey.
Originally, she began her footballing journey because she “really enjoyed playing at school and wanted to start playing locally”. Tayissa then spent the first couple years of her footy life in AusKick before then playing under-12s for the Knox Falcons.
From these early days till now, she has had two people in particular that have helped Tayissa's journey, which has been "my nan and pa".
With a special mention going to them "for supporting me, and taking me everywhere".
As a shooting guard in basketball, she found that she enjoyed “just running with the footy”, but her “favourite thing is definitely playing alongside some of my best friends”.
With this ever-increasing love of footy, the future-NAB League girls’ prospect then began donning the colours of Benalla Saints in 2018.
“Benalla was a really good club. We had good players, and everyone was extremely nice but unfortunately, we couldn’t get enough for a team in 2020.”
During these years, “I kind of lent more towards basketball and didn’t have a feel for the footy as much”, but this was about to change during her breakout 2019 season.
It all began with Tayissa’s selection into the Interleague side, where she would go onto be named as the Best on Ground.
This “really motivated me to try my best and when the Bushrangers talked to me I was really keen to get on board and continue playing my footy”.
The breakout 2019 season would also see Tayissa play in the V-Line Cup where she was also named as the Best on Ground, and she topped things off perfectly by earning a spot in the 2019 Team of the V-Line Cup.
“Definitely winning Best on Ground for V-Line and kicking five goals at Interleague was a highlight.”
However, despite this breakout year, we have to mention that her favourite footballing moment is “definitely playing alongside some of the greatest girls I have met, and are now my lifelong friends”.
2019, which would also be her final year with Benalla since they would be unable to get enough players to field a team during 2020, saw Tayissa go out on a high with the Saints.
This is because, as well as being a two-time Leading Goalkicker with the Saints, she claimed the 2019 Benalla Best and Fairest.
With her time with the Saints ending, she then joined the Shepparton Swans, where she quickly fell in love with the club.
“Met some really great people that I’m extremely close with now and the teamwork really hard although they are a new team just introduced in 2020, they are incredibly determined and love their footy.”
Keeping in mind, during these years she was still busy with her other commitments, even now the Bushranger is still busy impressing on the basketball court. However, she is “not at all” phased by playing the two sports and having to switch back and forth.
“I have played both at the same time for quite a few years so it all just seems natural.”
A theme of Tayissa’s footballing journey is that she has always seemed to enjoy her footy, and her time with the Murray Bushrangers is certainly no exception.
“I really like the program; the girls are all so nice and lovely people, and the coaches are all very knowledgeable and experienced.”
Yet she is definitely more critical of her own game.
“I feel I was very hot and cold throughout the season. I definitely could have done a lot better. My best game was against GWV Rebels, although I feel I could’ve played better."
“After my concussion, I wasn’t on the field very much which gave me the limited opportunity. This season I’m going to work really hard.”
Injuries were just one part of her journey that has caused considerable disruption, the other being of course the restrictions that were put in place because of the pandemic. The pandemic “definitely has” impacted her footy.
“I hadn’t played club footy for a good four weeks. Couldn’t wait to see all the girls again …”
So, what is the next chapter for this exciting and hard-working Bushranger?
"My goal is to work as hard as I can this season and hopefully make Vic Country as I missed out last season due to concussion."
"Wherever I end up I will more than happy as I love playing footy and it makes me very happy."
This goal is a simple way to some up Tayissa, which is a hard-working and passionate footballer who always strives to be the best she can be all while simply enjoying the game.
And we are confident that she will continue to posses these traits, even as her footballing journey continues to grow more and more bright.
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None of these photographs is owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and were personally took.