Skipper sets sights on WAFLW

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Collie Eagles skipper Tahlia Dawson-Gibbs hunts the footy alongside Magpies captain Rennie Sansom earlier this season.
Camera IconCollie Eagles skipper Tahlia Dawson-Gibbs hunts the footy alongside Magpies captain Rennie Sansom earlier this season. Credit: Justin Fris

If you have watched any SWFL women’s match over the past two seasons involving the Collie Eagles, chances are you will have seen inspirational captain Tahlia Dawson-Gibbs in the thick of the action.

Whether it is her hair flying by while she is hunting the football or dishing out a bruising tackle to help secure possession for her teammates, Dawson-Gibbs has become a core component of the Eagles’ engine room.

The 23-year-old took some time out from football earlier this season and made a triumphant return in round seven against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault.

“To start off with I was umming and ahhing a little bit,” Dawson-Gibbs said.

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“I did fall out with my passion for football due to health reasons, but once I got them sorted, I fell back in love with it.

“I was a little bit nervous coming back to the girls, but soon as I realised they hadn’t changed anything, I realised they still loved me for who I was. “They made it as comfortable as they could and it was great to get back into it and remember why I loved it.”

Although she is bright and bubbly off the field, Dawson-Gibbs’ fierce competitive nature on the sporting field was welcomed growing up, such was the sibling rivalry in her family.

“My family has always loved the West Coast Eagles so I always used to watch footy and loved it,” she said.

“It’s been good that I have the chance to play a sport I love now and play it with my family and brothers.

“Back in primary school I played hockey and soccer.

“I played hockey pretty much my whole life and gave up soccer to continue it, which was when football wasn’t big for women.

“I kept playing hockey until I hurt my knee and I couldn’t go as far as I wanted to.

“I then kinda fell out of love with hockey and fell in love with football, so I went from one sport to another.”

Off the field, Dawson-Gibbs is studying education support at TAFE, where she hopes to be an educational assistant at a high school.

She also received an education on life as a WAFLW and AFLW player from Fremantle Dockers half back Philipa Seth, who was her housemate while working as a physiotherapist in the South West last year.

Although her heart will firmly be with the Collie Eagles, Dawson-Gibbs is hopeful of a WAFLW career in Perth if all goes to plan.

“I actually have plans to move to Perth and make it in the WAFLW,” she said. “I’m hoping to play with South Fremantle.

“I’ll be keeping my fitness up.

“I’ve got two younger brothers who are very talented, so I’m sure they’ll keep me on my toes.”

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