Aussie rules football player receives 'sexual abuse' over photo

‘Animals’: Aussie rules footballer Tayla Harris slams ‘sexual abuse’ online over all-action pic

‘Animals’: Aussie rules footballer Tayla Harris slams ‘sexual abuse’ online over all-action pic

More controversy followed when the 7AFL Twitter account deleted the photo and replaced it with a message detailing why they had removed the post.

"Well done Cecilia, what a journeywoman, your longevity through the gruelling 8 match seasons over 3 years has taken its toll".

Some AFL fans even turned to blaming Harris for the backlash over the photo, with one man getting into an argument with Matildas star Sam Kerr, claiming the standard AFLW uniform Harris was wearing was too "revealing" and "suggestive".

The image was shared on social media by broadcaster the Seven Network, only to receive a torrent of abuse, much of which was sexual in nature.

"When we're posting stuff I know the guys work hard to moderate that and take comments down", McLachlan said.

Some Australian media called for those who posted abusive tweets to be identified and banned from Australian Football League games. The AFL doesn't seem to be shying away from the challenge at least, with the integrity unit now hunting those responsible for the "repulsive" comments.

Harris, who plays for the Melbourne-based Carlton Blues, said she now fears for her safety.

Saundry, who manages a number of AFLW players, said the messages were "astonishing, threatening, violating".

"Especially in the direct messages section of Instagram, if the girls are having a bad game or moving clubs", Saundry told The Age.

"Would they say it to our face?"

Netball legend and vocal supporter of women in sports Liz Ellis said unfortunately those attitudes are nothing new, although their voices are slowly getting drowned out.

"There's people who simply feel threatened by female athletes and women's sport".

"I genuinely consider that they might show up at the footy".

"The support that has come from this has been phenomenal", Harris said.

"The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable,"she said on a national radio show". "I know I shouldn't read them but it's hard not to ... and I can see in people's profile pictures that they have kids or they have got daughters, or there are women in their photos - and that is the stuff that I'm anxious about".

Harris has said the comments she was subjected to amount to being "sexually abused" online.

"That's all you can really ask".

Harris took to social media again on Thursday to say thank you to her supporters and leave one poignant, parting shot.

"Things have changed ... if you're not with us, you will be left behind", she posted to Twitter.