Hanks a lot: Starring second-year Dee credits 'pre-pre-season'

TYLA Hanks is one of many talented youngsters starting to hit their straps in the NAB AFLW competition after settling into to the top level. 

The impact of the class of the 2018 NAB AFLW Draft has been noticeable in the early stages of this year, with the likes of the previously unheralded Becky Webster, Jesse Wardlaw, Jordy Allen and Lauren Butler having starring moments in games. 

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The 157cm Hanks has made the jump from the Demons' forward line to their midfield, after being a crucial onball cog for Vic Country and Gippsland Power in her junior career. 

She's averaging nine disposals and four tackles a match this season after playing in some fairly tough conditions against North Melbourne (wind at Casey) and Western Bulldogs (heavy rain at Footscray). 

Tyla Hanks in action. Picture: AFL Photos

"It hasn't been great, it's been a hard slog, we've had two weeks of pretty tough conditions. But to win both of those games gives us confidence as a group," Hanks told womens.afl

"I played midfield in juniors, but it's a whole new level now. Playing on girls like (Ellie) Blackburn and (Kirsty) Lamb is a good experience, so I'll take a lot from that. It's great to learn from our own midfield too, I'm really enjoying it.

"Every opponent is a little bit different. You might get someone who likes to be on the move, you kind of see how well they can get going and run onto the ball, or they might have good tools to get you out of their space and working onto it that way.

"There's just little things you pick up and learn along the way." 

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Hanks is feeling much more comfortable in the surrounds of Gosch's Paddock in her second year of AFLW. 

"Last year was a bit of a whirlwind. It was a great experience, but this year, I feel a little more settled within my place in the team and my own ability. I'm a bit more at ease this year," Hanks said.

"The intensity of training the first year was something I really struggled to handle, I probably didn't come in fit enough. 

"I did a fair bit of work over the 'pre-pre-season', as I called it, and it meant conditioning, running and doing all that extra work wasn't something I had to really worry or be anxious about at training."