By Joel Gould via qrl.com.au
Tahlia Marshall is the daughter of Ipswich Jets royalty and she credits her legendary dad for her brave return to the playing arena and selection in the Queensland Under 19 squad after two years on the sidelines.
An ACL rupture in 2020 threatened to scupper Marshall’s early career in the game but the Brisbane Tigers outside back turned to her father Brendon Marshall, one of Ipswich’s most decorated centres with more than 150 top grade games to his credit, to get her through her toughest challenge.
The 18-year-old missed two full years of football and this is her first season back playing.
“It was a struggle at first, but dad was determined to get me through it all and helped me with all my rehab,” Tahlia said.
“He would push me and help me to get through. We’d do a little bit of running, and if it got too much we would have a little break. Then he would distract me from all my emotions. Then we’d go again.
“I didn’t really expect to make this team. Making the Queensland Rubys last week for the nationals was an incredible achievement for me. I wasn’t expecting much out of this year.
“I was just wanting to play football. Two years without it was just hectic.”
Brendon said both he and his wife Milly were stoked with their daughter’s achievement and dedication.
“Me and the wife are very proud of Tahlia,” Brendon said.
“She had two years with no sport. Going through that rehab process, it really got to her.
“We had a conversation with her after she came out of the operation. She said, ‘I can’t do it. I can’t do it’, and then when it came to D-day and her last rehab and physio session she said she didn’t want to play anymore.
“She got through it all and to see her achieve so much in the short space of time since coming back from the injury is a credit to her.
“At the moment she is just in the squad, but whether she gets in the 17 or not we will still be going down to Sydney to support her and the team.”
Tahlia plays fullback, wing and centre. Her sister Tanika is also a centre for the Tigers in the BMD Premiership. Brendon was a magical centre for the Jets who had all the skills, and gave his daughter a real appreciation for the game.
“Dad was so inspirational as a player. Just watching him was amazing,” Tahlia said.
“I always used to think, ‘How does he do it?’ He had that ability to get outside his defender and somehow have that free hand to offload the ball.
“Then when I started playing, he was just so happy to show me his ways. He would take me out to the fields and do kicking and passing with me…and we would be out there for hours.”
Tahlia has proven to be a genuine leader at a young age. She was Ipswich State High school captain last year. Whilst she said it was “very nerve wracking” initially, it was a role she embraced. Footy was also a priority.
“It got me out of my comfort zone. I am not usually a person to do that, but it was a great experience,” Tahlia said of the school captaincy.
“I love that school. All the sport there is so good. They just love football. It is the main sport there. All you see is the fields just full of kids playing footy.”
Queensland Under 19 camp is a great reward for Tahlia’s perseverance and stunning return to the playing arena.
“This is going to be a great experience to learn from all these girls, and from our coach Ben Jeffries,” Tahlia said.
Jeffries said Tahlia had earned her spot in the squad where her versatility would be a huge asset.
“Tahlia is really quick across the ground and has converted well this year from the juniors to the seniors space,” Jeffries said.
“She played really well in the national titles, and played multiple positions as well, and that is really good to see.”