Taylah Kolevski - the Blues
For those who have just began playing, make sure that you are playing because you enjoy it, that is the whole point of team sports. Also, if you are playing to take your game to higher levels; make sure that you are putting in the hours whether it be sessions involving skill acquisition, running, resistance or reviewing and analysing your own and others footage.
Switching from a non-contact sport to football is not always as simple as it sounds—but for Taylah Kolevski, she had become one of the best rucks in the NAB League Girls competition just two years after she had switched from basketball to footy.
2017 marked the beginning of her promising footballing journey, and it was a very humble beginning to the game that she has since gone onto make a mark in.
“I was playing basketball … and my friends had always known I was quite an aggressive player on the court and would always tell me that I would be perfect for footy.”
“Friends at school repeatedly attempted to persuade me to come down to one of their training sessions at Caroline Springs but it was hard to do so as at that time, I was training for basketball nine times a week.”
Despite having her schedule full of basketball commitments, she refused to let her footballing ambitions die. So, when she was finally given the opportunity to strap on the boots, she did not let it slip.
“I had always wanted to play although my mum never let me as she was worried about the physicality of the sport as well as the fact that I wouldn’t have time for it between work, school and basketball.”
“Dad secretly took me to a training session to see if I would like it in the middle of the 2017 season. We told mum after I trained that I loved it and that the coach offered me to play one game and I decided that I would start playing properly the next year.
“… But I loved it so much that I continued to play and decreased my basketball commitments to make it work. Mum did not have much of a say obviously.”
To show just how quickly she began developing, she was invited to try out for the Western Jets after just two games with her local club, Caroline Springs. She would then go onto be named amongst the Jets leadership squad during the 2019 season—the same season that she would collect 149 hit outs, the highest total during that NAB League Girls season.
“I am glad for my time at the Jets as that is where I gained all of my football IQ …”
As aforementioned, it was also during her second and final year of NAB League Girls footy that she got to experience being a leader for the Jets. Which she describes as being “really great”.
“… I love being in leadership positions, it is one of the things I love most about footy and team sports in general.”
“It was also great as way the Jets there were a lot of different aged girls, so it was great to be able to mentor girls of different ages.”
However, even during her two years with the Jets, she still returned to play for her home club when she had the chance.
“They always welcome me back with open arms when I am able to play between my other teams and were always looking for ways to boost my skills and allow me to expand my playing environments as I played in the under 18’s and senior women’s seasons.”
“I absolutely adore Caroline Springs Football Club. Everyone at the club is extremely supportive.”
Considering her strong feelings towards the club it is no surprise that this high level of passion also saw Taylah gain a considerable amount success and experience with the football club.
Included in this was two years spent Captaining their U18s side as well as finishing runner-up to their 2018 Best and Fairest despite “having played only seven games due to my TAC Cup season.”
She would then go one further in 2019 as she topped off what was a very strong football year by claiming Caroline Springs Best and Fairest, and then in 2020, she would fall just two votes shy of winning the Western Region Football League (WRFL) Best and Fairest despite only playing half a season due to her NAB League game requirements.
She would also get to experience some finals footy, playing in both the 2018 and 2019 WRFL Senior Women’s Grand Finals—the former of which she played in at the age of just 17. However, despite all of this success it seems that Taylah prefers the club and the guidance they provided over these accolades.
This is simply because “I just started playing for fun as I am to this day. The achievements that come along the way are a great addition though”.
As for Caroline Springs, “they were the first people to nurture my skills and talent and allow me to spread my horizons to other teams and levels of AFL”.
And them, along with the Western Jets, have certainly expanded her horizons as she managed to reach the next level by becoming one of the first players signed to Carlton’s VFLW list for the 2020 season while also spending time as a train-on with their AFLW side.
2020 was set to be the year that we would get to see Taylah don the old dark navy blue—but we were forced to put our anticipation on hold as the VFLW season was suspended. Which in itself proved a new, unique, and difficult challenge for her, especially considering she grew up playing sport,
“This year off from team sports has been an interesting one. I have been playing sports since I was three years old, so this year was odd for lack of another word, but I put in the individual work over this ‘hiatus’, so it didn’t feel too different, other than yearning for that feeling of playing a match.”
But now she is “extremely excited” for the year ahead.
“… I thought I could not beat the excitement I felt at the beginning of 2020 but with the current environment causing the 2020 season to be called off I am even more ecstatic to start the 2021 season.”
We may also see a slightly different side of Taylah than what we have become accustomed to during the upcoming VFLW season.
“Although in my time down at the Jets I only played in the ruck position, so now at Carlton my new goal or challenge is learning to play in new positions, as I am quite a short ruck.”
“Nothing is set in stone at the moment, but I am thoroughly enjoying playing backline, but Luke is mentoring me in the right direction to get a taste of all positions before making such a big decision.”
In just over three years, she has managed to progress from local to VFLW level while also finding considerable amount of success—all thanks to her dedication and passion to keep learning and developing.
“… I have always had a whole team of support behind me. I am very, very lucky. Including every coach, I have had thus far who still support me even as I have progressed to other teams, as well as my parents and my friends/peers who push me to do whatever makes me happy.”
But fittingly she also has some of her own guidance for those who have only just began playing footy and are still trying to find their own way in the game.
"I found that when I began I had a lot of different people and coaches pulling me into different directions and teaching me skills and plays in different ways which could be very confusing when trying to understand the basics of skills and the sport of AFL."
"So, I say to those experiencing the same thing to make sure that you take all of the information they are providing you and put into play what works for you."
"You do not need to please everyone; you need to be pleased with yourself and the way that you are performing. You know where your talents lie and those around you are there to try help nurture them, yet it can be."
So, what does the next chapter have in store for this promising Blue?
“Football wise going forwards I hope to continue to improve my skills and football IQ and learn from all the amazing people I have around me. Also, to take my football as far as I can.”
“Looking forward to smashing through this coming season if all goes well with the current environment.”
She has come along way from her basketball days, from Caroline Springs to the Western Jets and now the Carlton Blues, and at each club she continues her willingness to learn. It is also shaping up to look like we will also see her in a new position during 2021.
But despite all of the success and the development she has had, the best thing is that Taylah Kolevski’s footballing journey is really only just beginning—and its path looks very bright.
Feel free to Share, and don't forget to Like and Subscribe for more on Women's Footy!
Minutes with Moose would like to thank all of our ambassadors.
None of these photographs are owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.