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Tanner's the answer

Jackson Paine  March 17, 2017 2:55 PM

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Standing at 6'1, Tanner has been tipped to assume Box Hill's ruck responsibilities. Photo: Russ Canham

"Get the best out of myself, do myself proud and deal with the rest later".

Beneath the energetic and cheery personality of new Box Hill Women's recruit Abbey Tanner is an unmistakeable level of grit and determination.

Her head coach Patrick Hill describes her as an integral member of his group with her infectious personality and relentless work ethic.

"She works hard on her craft which is great and she has a vibrant personality too," Hill said.

This is Tanner's seventh year playing footy and she feels she has finally found her ideal place to flourish.

"I love it," Tanner said.

"I played at VFL level last year and just felt like I was thrown into the deep end without being taught how to swim.

"But now to come back and learn the best way to play football is awesome because I've played for seven years but feel like I don’t have much to show for it until now."

Read: VFLW coach Patrick Hill names the players to keep an eye on

Tanner is a local, growing up in Box Hill after moving down from Sydney at age five.

She is the eldest of three kids in a sports-crazed family, with her sister a state-level basketballer and her brother, an "average but keen" footballer.

Tanner's introduction to footy came at 15 years of age when she became a member of the first youth girls team at her local club, Whitehorse.

"My best friend's dad was a major part of organising it all back then and I instantly fell in love with the game and it just went from there," Tanner said.

But one of Tanner's greatest challenges in her football career came on the back of arguably her greatest achievement.

In 2015, after playing the game for four years, Tanner was invited to the State Academy squad, signalling a rapid progression in her learning of the game.

But the experience was a confronting one for Tanner, who was faced with the realisation that she was not yet ready to play the game at an elite level.

"I realised how far off I was from being considered a good footballer," Tanner said.

"I started to question why I was even bothering with playing footy.

"It was a really challenging time for me."

But more recently, Tanner’s love for football and belief in her own game has begun to reemerge, a phase that has been facilitated by the environment at the Box Hill Hawks.

"I just decided that I wanted to stop sitting here and talking about all these ideas and just start acting on it, because ultimately I do love it.

"I just want to give it 100% this year and really give it a good crack and see what I can do".

"I'm feeling the fittest I have felt in a very long time".

 Although Tanner would love to one day play at the highest level, she refers to a different motivation that has driven her revitalisation.

"I love kids, I always have, and recently I had an experience that showed me how much of an impact us girls are having on younger girls.

"That has become my biggest driver, to inspire even just a few young girls, because it is a great sport and something I love doing".