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Monday, January 25 2021 @ 06:05 am ACDT

Following Kurt's VFL Grand Final day out loss to Footscray


It’s all the usual Grand Final preparations. Warm up on the ground, run through the banner and line up for the national anthem. But for Kurt Heatherley it is a foreign one. Well maybe not that foreign as he has spent a few years in Melbourne at school and another since at Hawthorn learning the ropes.
But today it is Box Hill he runs out with. Hawthorn’s VFL affiliate team also known as the Hawks. He has played with Box Hill all season. He spent three games with Box Hill’s Development team during the year and the rest of the games with the Box Hill senior team. Playing as a defender he has not clocked up huge numbers but is always a solid contributor who has a love of the physical contest.
His stats show he is a keen tackler, something brought from across the Tasman where he grew up around the dominating game of rugby.
Kurt starts on the bench. Four minutes in he is up and ready to come on as Box Hill and Footscray seesaw the ball back and forth but finally it is Woodward who breaks the deadlock and Kurt Heatherley comes onto the ground with 6 min on the clock. He is straight into defence on Redpath and then the matchup with Campbell. He spoils their first contest and Box Hill clears. 
Campbell marks in pocket for Footscray as Kurt Heatherley is stranded after marking up Jones with the ball coming into the forward line and he was left in no man’s land. Campbell in this instance was actually Shoenmakers man. Campbell kick Footscray’s first goal.
Heatherley is now manning up Redpath.    The ball goes into the Box Hill 50 arc and Heatherley zones off in centre of ground. Willsmore kicks the goal for Box Hill.
Now with Ayce Cordy in square, leaves him to try to assist with spoil but Shoenmakers man in Redpath takes the mark before he can assist and he kicks the goal for Footscray. 
Shortly after he contests for a mark with Goodes on the back flank but the ball spills over boundary. Another player resting up forward and Heatherley is now manning up on Tutt . Box Hill kick a long point and he is back with Jones again.  Heatherley is not seeing much action as Box Hill are doing all the attacking. Sicily eventually adds two in a row for Box Hill. Now Heatherley is running with South Afrian born Johannisen as Footscray peg one back and he is now back manning up on Jones. 
Heatherley tries to chase down Grant with pace and pressure causes him to miss running shot at goal.
Young kicks a goal for Footscray on the run. And Kurt comes off for rest 27 mins gone in Quarter.
Quarter time score Box Hill 4.2 (26) v Footscray 4.2 (26).
Kurt starts on bench again. Grant puts Footscray back in front with a soccer goal off the ground.
Kurt come back on at 4.30. Tries to mark a skied ball on chest but spoiled. Running with Dickson now and then shortly afterwards withGrant. Kurt is in pack spoiling as Grant tries to mark.
Another change and now he is with Jones waiting at the square.
Jones gets on the end of a long lead but Heatherley closes and spoils. Eventually a ball up happens. From ball up Tutt runs off back of pack Kurt chases but can’t stop him kicking the goal Footscray are two goals clear. Kurt has his first possession with a nice handball to teammate cleaning up from the ball spilling off the pack on the back flank. 
Next Jones gets on a good lead to the pocket and with a hard low flat pass Kurt Heatherley can’t make the spoil. Jones kicks the goal. 
Kurt Heatherley now back manning up on Redpath. 
Hallahan intercepts pass and kicks one for Box Hill. Kurt Heatherley with Grant and then switches to Jones. Jones goes to the bench and now Heatherley is with Grant again. Grant and Heatherley are very evenly matched physically. A pass comes directed to Grant, but Heatherley spoils to the boundary so Grant can’t mark. Now Heatherley zones off as Grant goes in to contest the ball inside 50 at a ball up.
Hallahan kicks a very good goal from boundary line for Box Hill.
Hawks go from back line switch to mark to Grimley who goals. Kurt Heatherley ran length of field past 3 marks to provide handball option. Cordy couldn’t keep with let, but Heatherley’s long run is not rewarded. Cordy looks to let him know the run was for nothing and they have a bit of a standing wrestle on the foward 50. 
Q3 Kurt Heatherley starts on bench. Luke Lowden kicks an early one for the Hawks a long kick from outside 50.
Ross kicks goal roving off contest for Box Hill.
Kurt Heatherley comes onto the ground after 8 minutes after Sicily takes big pack grab and misses to left. 
Heatherley spoils Redpath mark with assistance on the forward flank.
Next he drops back into pack as long kick come inside 50 from Footscray but mark is taken by Pearce – he slots the set shot no problem.
Heatherley takes a nice mark from the kickout, about 55m out from the Box Hill goal, he sends a long kick to top of square.
Now Redpath leads Kurt Heatherley to take mark on lead. 
Dickson makes it interesting with goal for the Bulldogs from a free kick for over shoulder spoil.
Jones marks for Footscray and goals.
Heatherley now looks to be running on a wing. Gets ball on the wing from a scrappy handball and is tackled over the line for throw in. 
Collins goals for Box Hill after Rioli spills the ball to the back of the pack in the square.
Hartung gets another for Box Hill with a long 3 bounce run and then goal.
Heatherley is now with Ayce Cordy at goalsquare. He rushes a behind as Footscray come charging to try to soccer it through.
Kurt Heatherley marks in back pocket from the kickout. He kicks long to a pack on the back flank. 
¾ time score Box Hill 11.7 to Footscray 10.7
Kurt Heatherley started the last quarter on the ground, probably thanks to Box Hill being restricted after the decision to sit out Cyril Rioli for the last quarter.
Kurt Heatherley starts off in the Footscray goal square with Jones at full back.
Sicily goals for Hawks at other end.
Kurt Heatherley is lead to the ball by Redpath but Tutt intercepts, Box Hill clear the ball though.
Goal on the run by Ross puts Box Hill 18 points up.
Dickson kicks the goal of the day when he picks up from spoil on the run and snaps the goal for Footscray.
Footscray come again with quick clear from centre and Jones snaps on left for goal. 
Redpath goals after tackle on Schoenmakers paid to level the scores.
Heatherly with Hayes. Slight mismatch .
Howard goals for Bulldogs from mark in pocket and goals. A sidewinder soccer kick for a point for Box Hill follows as Footscray rush the behind.
Great spoil form Kurt Heatherley as the Bulldogs kicked long to the square and he got a fist in to thump it through for a rushed behind.
Moments later Tutt’s kick falls short and Box Hill rush the behind to give Footscray a 7pt lead.
Collins takes a stand your ground mark 20m out for Box Hill but his kick misses. 
Kurt Heatherley now with Jong and then Redpath as he takes whoever comes loose to the Footscray forward line. 
Kurt Heatherley spoils and knocks the ball away from the leading Dickson in the back pocket.
Kurt Heatherley slips and cant spoil Jones who marks at 50 and kicks the goal.
Heatherley with Grant now. Another to Jones who is infringed in the marking contest and it’s a 20 point lead to Footscray. Was a great clearance and pass from Jong who has dominated around the packs all day.
Lin Jong kicks a point after a free kick and 50 metre penalty. On the clearance Heatherley gets a kick on the wing on the run as advantage is paid. Shortly after the siren sounds.
Final Score
Footscray 16.13 109 defeat Box Hill 13.9 87
Crowd 23,000.
Brett Goodes was named best on ground, and Lin Jong must have been a close second for the Norm Goss medal.
Heatherley’s game in the back line was a serviceable one, he clearly has a job and that is to man up the resting players coming into the forward line, or take whatever matchup is required. He looked outsized for bulk against Cordy, Redpath and Jones but was able to beat them for speed and match them for height. He was really only beaten by the best of leads and passes and once when he slipped, defenders can’t be expected to win every contest after all. With smaller forwards like Dickson and on players like Jong and Hayes he was able to match them for speed. And for build and height he is almost identical to Grant. 
His kicking and handball look very reliable and to take his game to the next level really just needs to take charge in the backline rather than put out the fires as they occur. This should all come with more match time and experience on the best forwards in the VFL.
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