Contributed by: Michael Christiansen
The first Oceania graduate to crack it for a senior AFL match and senior listing - Kiwi Kurt Heatherley - has not been offered a contract for 2019 by the Hawthorn Football Club. Kurt came through the AFL Oceania and South Pacific pathway before relocating from New Zealand to Melbourne and completing his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.
Five years ago as an 18 year old he accepted an International scholarship offer from Hawthorn and as reported at the time by Emma Quayle (the Age) he was set to become one of the most (internationally) travelled AFL players.
Prior to the 2016 season Kurt was upgraded to the Hawks senior list, and in round 20 of 2016 made his senior debut against Melbourne at the famous MCG in front of a tick under 39,000 fans. In 2017 a further 4 games followed - twice versus Collingwood (over 50K each time) and a trip to Tasmania for a draw against the Giants at York Park in Launceston; before a last senior hit out against Geelong in a 3 pt loss in Round 17 of 2017 in front of 70K at the MCG.
Injuries hampered his progress, this year with a only 2 VFL games prior to June and unfortunately after a solid stretch through winter he succumbed to a hamstring injury in August that ruled him out of the successful Box Hawks finals campaign.
Highlights included his debut against Melbourne and first win Round 15 2017.
After beginning his time at the Hawks during their golden era of the 2013-15 three-peat; in more recent times other players have moved ahead of him in the Hawthorn backline. Hopefully though he might find another home in the AFL and wouldn't be a bad fit at a number of clubs.
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