Dees star Harris clear for AFLW decider

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Melbourne star Tayla Harris insists she will be uninhibited in the AFLW grand final against the Brisbane Lions, allaying fears over the extent of her shoulder injury.


Harris will line up in her fourth season decider on Sunday, eager to snare her first premiership medal.

The 25-year-old forward-ruck has been given the green light by Demons medical staff despite hurting her left shoulder in a ruck contest during the preliminary final.

Harris opened a press conference on Monday by raising both arms high in the air, lightheartedly displaying her free range of movement in anticipation of questions about the injury.

"My shoulder has pulled up better than expected, and that's honest," Harris told reporters.

"The physios have all let me know that they probably expected a bit worse and that's good to hear.

"I'm feeling great and I have no doubt that I'll be able to compete at my best capacity on Sunday."

Harris was hurt in a ruck contest with North Melbourne's Emma King and was later limited to a permanent forward role.

She had little impact in attack, finishing scoreless from just four disposals, as Eden Zanker stepped into the support role behind first-choice ruck Lauren Pearce.

Harris expects to play her usual forward-ruck split in the grand final and isn't bothered by the possibility of extra physical attention from opponents.

"They can try," the professional boxer grinned.

Harris has been part of losing AFLW grand final teams at three different clubs; Brisbane (2017), Carlton (2019) and Melbourne (2022 - season six).

"Grand finals are hard enough to get in, let alone win them, so I think I'm fortunate enough to have been in them in the first place and will take the experience, for sure," Harris said.

"Only one team wins and there's plenty of others that are doing everything possible to get there as well.

"I won't be thinking about the previous ones but I'll certainly take the lessons (from them)."

Melbourne key position player Tahlia Gillard is also free to line up in the grand final after escaping with a $700 fine for a dangerous tackle on North Melbourne's Alice O'Loughlin.

The penalty for Gillard's second rough conduct offence this season can be reduced to $400 with an early guilty plea.

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