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2014 Review: Billy Hartung

Season Review: Billy Hartung Watch some of Billy Hartung's highlights for 2014.
Billy Hartung of the Hawks in action during the 2014 AFL Round 20 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on August 09, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Billy Hartung of the Hawks in action during the 2014 AFL Round 20 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on August 09, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)

With the 2014 season now complete, will review the years of those who played a senior game for the Hawks in 2014 with the help of GM - Football Operations, Chris Fagan.


While the highlights reel of Billy Hartung excited many when he was drafted last year, the expectations on him potentially breaking into a premiership were probably low.

He defied that.

The youngster impressed almost immediately by finishing second in his first 2km time trial with the Hawks and from there, developed quickly to a point where by Round 7, he was ready for his AFL debut.

Hartung finished season 2014 as one of Hawthorn’s most exciting prospects for the future and was perhaps unlucky not to win the Best First Year Player award at the Peter Crimmins Medal.

His speed and endurance were his two biggest strengths when the Hawks identified him as a draft prospect and luckily, he fell through to the Hawks at pick 24 in last year’s National Draft.

It took the youngster no time to develop and impress, averaging 18 disposals in his first three games with VFL affiliate Box Hill, with that run and carry already a feature.

His form was undeniable as Coach Alastair Clarkson pulled the trigger to give him his first taste of senior footy, and he didn’t disappoint, translating that VFL form into impressive AFL outings.

26 disposals and a goal in his debut against St Kilda exceeded expectations and had everyone, including the Hawks coaching staff excited about his prospects and the pace he can add to the team.

He played five consecutive games between rounds 8 and 12, making an impact as the sub in the Round 8 loss to Sydney with seven disposals, and had even more impact as the sub against the Power in Round 10 with 17 disposals and a goal in a half of footy.

His first season was unfortunately derailed mid-year with an elbow injury sustained in the AFL in Round 12 and didn’t return for a month, where he picked up where he left off in the VFL.

Hartung returned with a bang, inspiring Box Hill to a thrilling win over ladder-leaders Footscray with a brilliant final term.

In the aftermath, former Box Hill premiership coach Damian Caroll lauded Hartung’s performance, which was again evidence of his character and composure beyond his years.

“In that last quarter he was pretty pivotal in us getting over the line,” Football Academy Development Coordinator Damian Caroll told on 14 July.

“He was able to break the lines with his run and carry and use the ball really well, which was certainly really pleasing for us that he could step up in that tight game and help us get over the line.”

He averaged 21.3 disposals in his final six games in the VFL before again breaking back into the AFL team in rounds 20 and 23.

The midfielder then played in Box Hill’s Preliminary and Grand Finals, picking up 15 and 16 disposals in each, including kicking a breathtaking goal in the decider where he gathered across half back, bounced his way along the win and goal from just inside 50.

All in all it was an outstanding debut season from Hartung who exceeded expectations by breaking into and making an impact in a premiership team.

What GM – Footy Chris Fagan said: “He’s in the mold of Bradley Hill and Isaac Smith, he’s a running machine. We selected him as the sub a few times this year, which is what we did with ‘Hilly’ in his first year but to be honest, he was probably better than he (Hill) was in his first year given the amount of ball he was able to get.

“He’s not afraid to run and bounce and carry the lines - we think we’ve got some really great runners in our team and he’s going to really add to that arsenal and should emerge even more next year as his body gets stronger and his belief grows that he can play at the level.”

Billy Hartung in the news in 2014
- VFL: Hartung inspires win over Footscray
- Getting to know: Billy Hartung
- Hartung challenges Smith in time trial

Videos featuring Billy Hartung in 2014
- Hartung speaks ahead of his debut
- Hartung speaks after his impressive debut
- everymoment: Hartung

Billy Hartung in action.