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‘She’s got a memory’: Grudge match looms for Tayla Harris

Almost 12 months on, the rematch has just about arrived, and Harford suggested Harris would not have forgotten what happened.

“She’s got a memory. It was a bit of a news item at the time. She’s a pretty proud athlete, Tay, in any discipline that she’s involved in, so I imagine she’s got an awareness of last time,” Harford said on Tuesday.

‘We could be playing Eric the Eel in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday night, we’d still be pretty pumped.’

“That match-up, which will happen at some stage you would think, Livo and Tay, I’m sure will have a lot of people watching.”

Another source of intrigue on Thursday night will be the first match between ex-Blues skipper and now Collingwood co-captain Bri Davey since she was traded between the traditional rivals.

But Harford said that as a coach he was treating Davey like any other opposition player.

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“Bri is a terrific player, and she plays for the opposition now so we’ll address her as we need to from a team perspective but that’ll be no different to any other key players that they’ll have running round Thursday night. Whatever the girls get up to I’ll leave up to them, but I can’t see it being too significant. We’ve moved on from that,” Harford said.

Thursday night is also set to bring a Carlton debut for former Melbourne co-captain Elise O’Dea, who was traded to the Blues last year. Harford said O’Dea would provide terrific experience to the Blues’ midfield group.

“She’s gone magnificently. She’s really embraced the new surroundings and the new opportunity. She seems to have found a really good lease of life and good energy.

“She’s rock-solid fit, she’s ready to go. She’s going to be a very handy player for us.”

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Carlton were one of four sides left in the premiership race when the season was called to a premature halt last year, but Harford said a sense of unfinished business was not the prevailing feeling.

“I’m very excited, just like the players are, just like everyone in AFLW, just keen to play some footy. It’s our chance. We could be playing Eric the Eel in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday night, we’d still be pretty pumped. It doesn’t matter who it is, we just want to play.”

Defender Gab Pound has been ruled out of the season-opener with a broken hand but Harford said she should be available to take on the Western Bulldogs in round two.

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