Friday, December 07 2012 @ 12:27 am ACDT
Contributed by: Rod Shaw
From International Scholarship Holder to an International Rookie at Hawthorn by the end of next season, the journey continues for NZ’s Kurt Heatherley.
He signed on an International Scholarship at the end of 2009 so the progress has been about carefully developing his football nous and skills to match his athletic capacity which saw him test extremely well at this year’s AFL Draft Camps. At 192cm, and weighing 83kg the teenager came second in the 20m sprint with a time of 2.84 seconds.
The 17-year-old will join the club in a near full-time capacity in 2013, training alongside his future Hawks teammates at Waverley while playing with the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup.
Hawthorn head of coaching and development Chris Fagan described Heatherley as a “real competitor” with a great attitude. “He’ll do a full year of training with us this year, which is pretty exciting,” Fagan said. “We’ll be focussing on improving his kicking and his game sense.
So good has been his development since taking up football after being spotted by the Hawks as a 14-year-old, experts consider him a likely top 20 NAB AFL Draft pick if we was in the draft pool.
Kurt is not the only International Scholarship holder at the Hawks - fellow Kiwis Shem Tatupu and Ben Miller are also listed by the AFL club.