Tiger Tayla a sharp-shooting teen

PORTLAND netballer Tayla Falconer was the Tigers’ version of the AFL super sub in her Hampden league A grade debut.

New Tigers coach Kerri Jennings called on the teenage goal shooter in the final term of their seven-goal round one win against Terang Mortlake last weekend.

Falconer, 15, combined with experienced goal attack Lauren Hockley, dropping eight of 10 attempts to make an immediate impact at the top level.

“I was happy with how I went,” she said.

“It was kind of scary but I got into it kind of easily. It was good to know my coach Kerri had trust in me; it wasn’t a hard decision for her to make.”

Falconer said playing alongside Hockley — the 2013 Hampden league best and fairest winner — was the perfect way to start her A grade career.

“I was taller than the goal keeper so I could move and give Lauren space,” she said.

“It was a lot easier to play than junior competition. It’s a lot cleaner and slicker and I enjoy that a lot better.”

The Bayview College student said her aim was to shed the “sub’s vest” and establish herself in the Tigers’ starting line-up, beginning today against Port Fairy at Gardens Oval.

She is aware how hard she’ll have to work to reach that goal on a permanent basis.

“It is a really good experience for me at my age to play A grade,” Falconer said.

“I am competitive and determined. I like to have a go but I stay quite collected and calm.”

Falconer combines netball with basketball and polocrosse and has made state teams in both sports.

The 176-centimetre shooting guard represented Vic Country at the under 16 national basketball championships in January.

Netball is her priority at the moment, although she is unsure what path she will take long-term.

“My mum and dad have been playing it (polocrosse) since they were teenagers and I have been brought up in it,” Falconer said.

In other round two games, Terang Mortlake must overcome reigning premier North Warrnambool Eagles if it is to avoid a 0-2 start to the season, Hamilton Kangaroos will take confidence from their maiden Hampden league win into their showdown with 2013 grand finalist Koroit, South Warrnambool hosts Cobden and winless sides Camperdown and Warrnambool meet.

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