Honey’s whirlwind season

Tayla Honey. Picture Barry Alsop / Melbourne Vixens

Tara Murray

Melbourne Vixens midcourter Tayla Honey experienced mixed emotions on the way to being part of the club’s Super Suncorp Netball Championship.

Returning from an achilles injury which forced her to miss last season, Honey was unsure whether she would get to play netball at all this season due to COVID-19.

The season eventually did get underway in a hub in Queensland, where Honey made her official debut for the Vixens. She and the Vixens went on to win the grand final against the West Coast Fever.

Honey, who grew up Keilor Downs, said those early days when there was some uncertainty over the season were stressful.

“I honestly felt physically sick,” she said.

“It was very, very scary at times at the start of the year … obviously not knowing if we would have a season and, knowing what happened last year with my injury, it was very panicked.

“It wasn’t ideal circumstances at all and the fact that I might not have been able to play any netball at all again, even though I was physically capable, that was going to make it harder.”

Honey said when they were told they were going into a hub, she had no hesitation of entering it.

The move up north which would come just five weeks after Honey moved into a house with fellow Vixens Kate Eddy and Sacha McDonald.

As well as her new housemates in the hub, Honey was lucky enough to have her mum, Melbourne Vixens assistant coach Di Honey up there as well.

“It was so good to have mum up there,” Honey said.

“Obviously the hub experience was hard at times and the fact that I had her to turn to was amazing.

“I’m really grateful, but I did feel bad at some points, all the girls missing their families and I was pretty lucky.”

A third member of the Honey family was also in Queensland in a hub, brother Josh Honey, who plays for AFL club Carlton. The two siblings didn’t manage to catch up with each other.

For Honey, this season was about wanting to learn as much as possible and soak in everything.

Sitting behind Australian Diamond Liz Watson at wing attack, Honey wasn’t expecting much court time.

She was thrilled when she stepped on court in round two to make her official debut. Honey was thrilled.

“When [coach] Simone [McKinnis] said to me to get ready to go on, it was just a surreal moment,” she said.

“To know all the work that I did in the previous year had been to some benefit and it was a great feeling to get up there.”

Honey started a couple of games late in the season with Watson out injured. She didn’t get on the court in the finals, but was part of the action on the sidelines.

“It was really nerve wracking, especially the grand final, especially with it being so close. I had absolute faith in the girls that they would bring it home.”

Honey and the Vixens spent a couple of days celebrating in Queensland before all starting to come back home.

Next for her is ensuring that her fitness remains high. Honey remains uncontracted.

“I want to keep my fitness in tough and do some different sort of training in the off season. I like to do longer runs, which we don’t do in the season which is exciting for me.”