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Hard way works for Duryea

It's all worth it for Duryea Taylor Duryea speaks to HawksTV after winning his second Premiership medallion.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 3: Taylor Duryea of the Hawks in action during the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on October 3, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Taylor Duyrea in action during the 2015 AFL Grand Final.

WHEN the pressure is at its greatest, the best players come to the fore. 

Taylor Duryea is earning a reputation as someone the Hawks can count on when the going gets tough. 

Now with 63 games to his name – and two premiership medallions – the tough-as-teak defender continues to impress.

Coming off arguably the best game of his career in the Hawks’ preliminary final win against Fremantle – after being the substitute against Adelaide the week before – Duryea backed up his efforts at the MCG on the final day of the season.

Spending time on dangerous Eagles Mark LeCras and Luke Shuey – who managed just two goals between them – the 24-year-old Hawk racked 26 disposals and eight marks to again reinforce what an important player he is to the three-time reigning premiers. 

He played 18 games in the 2013 home-and-away season, before missing out on a finals debut. Last year, he played in all three finals, starting as the substitute in the Hawks’ triumph over the Sydney Swans.

Duryea said playing a full game in this year’s decider was a thrill.

“Last year I was the sub and I was thankful to get that role, and this year obviously to play in the starting 21 was another step above,” he said in the rooms post-match.

“Just to be part of this great team is so humbling, and I’m thankful for the opportunity every time I play for this great club.”

Duryea’s star continues to rise, in a defensive group full of big names. 

He kicked the sealer against the Dockers in the preliminary final, and then read the play perfectly to take a third-quarter intercept mark to prevent an Eagles’ goal and put a halt to their charge.

His precise kicking has added to a backline which features the likes of fellow left-footers Grant Birchall and Josh Gibson.

It hasn’t been an easy ride to becoming a regular in the Hawks’ line-up, with Duryea making his AFL debut in his fourth year on the list.

But he believes his time in the VFL was crucial to his development.

“It’s been such a strong club since I’ve been drafted here, that the development for me had to occur at VFL level,” Duryea said.

“It’s sort of rare that we have young guys step in out of the draft and play immediately.

“I was given time at VFL, and although a little bit inconsistent at the start, I was able to build form there. By the time I came into the AFL team, I was more ready than what I would have been initially.”

Building on the attacking side of his game has been a focus this year, and he has averaged almost 18 disposals per game across 2015, compared to 15 the year before.

“I wanted to start working on the offensive side, recognised times when I can leave my man and get involved in the play. I feel like that’s where I’ve become a better player, a bit more rounded,” Duryea said.

Now a dual premiership player, the boy from the Murray looks very much at home on the big stage.

And with a contract for the next two seasons, Duryea still believes he’s “got a lot of development to go”.



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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs