Friday, September 19 2014 @ 10:20 pm ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
Officially joining Hawthorn's list this season Kiwi Kurt Heatherley has at times looked close to selection for an AFL debut. Particularly during periods where Hawthorn's defensive stocks were worn thin by injury and suspension. But this has looked further away as the season wore on and Hawthorn gradually got their best defenders back on the park.
Heatherley has persisted in defence playing 13 matches this season with the Hawk's VFL affilliate side the Box Hill Hawks. Box Hill won the 2013 VFL Premiership and now find themselves in Sunday's Grand Final against Footscray at Etihad Stadium. Most of the attention in Box Hill's team selection has been on Cyril Rioli who will test his suspect hamstring in the VFL Grand Final (if Hawthorn defeat Port Adelaide on Saturday afternoon) with hopes of making it through and then playing in the AFL Grand Final the following week. But our attention is well and truly on the selection of Heatherley who has been named on the half back flank.
This selection alone is a huge reward for the young Kiwi who relocated as a schoolboy to Australia to pursue his AFL career. It is also a huge credit to the talent identification and development pathways of AFLNZ. But to win a VFL premiership in his first season of senior football would be an even bigger acheivement and hopefully a tasty entree to an AFL debut in 2015.