#18 Michael Hurley


He is 27, about to turn 28. I don’t think age is an issue.


Had two lots of surgery(wrist being one?) in the preseason.

Hurley will turn that around pretty damn quickly.

A lot of players were blowing out the cobwebs skill wise.


Was good when the mids pressured. Was poor when we conceded control around the contest in the third. Funny that.

Alex Rance is regarded as the best fullback in the AFL but are we forgetting about Michael Hurley? > GLENN McFARLANE, Herald Sun March 24, 2018 11:59am > >

ALEX Rance or Michael Hurley?

The overwhelming majority of people — this reporter included — would immediately vote for Rance, who was named as an All-Australian for a fourth successive season last year, and is not out of place when discussing some of the greatest defenders of any era.

Hurley is a considerable distance behind that, but it was no surprise to hear Essendon midfielder David Zaharakis choose his teammate when asked for an assessment on the AFL’s best fullback in the business after Friday night’s win over Adelaide.

“Everyone says ‘Rancey’ is the best fullback in the comp, but ‘Hurls’ is right up there,” Zaharakis said to Matthew Richardson, one of Rance’s biggest fans, on Channel 7.

“There’s a great competition between those two about who is the best fullback in the comp … I’ll take Mick, I think. I’m definitely voting for Mick.”

The All-Australian selectors had the luxury of choosing both in their team last year, with Rance also named as captain (a massive pointer to his leadership skills) and Hurley chosen as the team’s centre-half-back.

Michael Hurley elevated his game last year and he picked up from where he left off on Friday night.

It was the All-Australian version of having your cake and eating it too, and in a hypothetical sense at least, heaven help any forward line who would ever have to contend with the Richmond star and his Essendon counterpart.

Rance has redefined the role of a key defender in recent seasons and it is hard to think of a modern player who has so definitively changed on-field perceptions of himself from the start of his career — when turnovers were a serious concern — to a football with supreme confidence in himself both in offensive and defensive modes.

He just isn’t beaten one-on-one (it happens so rarely) and he is the best interceptor in the game.

He has won a club best-and-fairest (2015), and if it wasn’t for two freakish seasons from teammate Dustin Martin, his two runners-ups might have turned into something else.

But what Rance, 28, has done is also elevated the bar for defenders, and it seems as if Michael Hurley, who is eight months his junior, and has had his own difficulties over his journey, has taken the challenge and quite literally run with it.

In an interview with the Herald Sun last year, Hurley admitted Rance was template for his own development, saying: “I definitely admire, almost envy him.

“He’s the pinnacle of defensive players in the competition. By the time he finishes up he very well could (the best of all-time).

“To watch him, you just marvel at the confidence in his game. He looks like he knows he’s going to win his one-on-ones regardless of who he’s playing on.

“He has a great balance of knowing where his man is and where the ball is and there’s no doubt, when he attacks he knows he’s going to get it.

“Just his hunger for the contest, his willingness to crack in and help and win contests most others won’t.

“And with that, he helps his teammates just as well as any player. He’s the best.”

Hurley has two All-Australians to his name (2015 and 2017), and two placings in Essendon best-and-fairests (second in 2015 and third in 2011), but he is starting to take his game to new heights.

He is getting far more of the ball now — he averaged 26 disposals per game last year — and surpassed that with 28 possessions in another strong display on Friday night, repelling the Crows’ forays into attack during the contest.

He’s not Rance (who is?), but he’s ■■■■■■ good.

And just as the Richmond vice-captain has played a critical role as a leader in his team’s resurgence up the ladder, it appears Hurley — a key member of Essendon’s leadership group — is a chance to do the same.


Reckon you all need to watch the replay.

Michael Hurley has a great game, all night. Made very few errors and was hardly ever beaten.


When upfield is doing their job and hack kicks come flying, like in the lats qtr, Hurley and Co mop up.

When upfield lets 4 mid sized players stream from the wing to hf with no opponents, nothing can help Hurly and co


Very few errors???

How about the 5 minutes in the third where he gave up 2 goals? Had a terrible game with poor decision making for 3 quarters, but was very good in Q4. He was awful in JLT2 as well, so hopefully it’s just rust.


Hmm, which goals ? Gibbs got two and McGovern got one

I’ll watch the replay again, but overall thought Hurley was in our best.


In the back pocket, had the ball, blindly did a loopy handball back into danger from which they scored the one reviewed). It was a stupid decision that no defender should ever do.

Then a few minutes later gave away that stupid 50 infringing on the encroachment zone.


He was ‘terrible’
He was ‘fantastic’
This is ‘Blitz’


Yep I forgot, you only like perfection.


Thought he was really really good last night. Defended well and attacked well


Battled with clean possession a lot but was instrumental in the 4th. I was groaning about him in the third, I remember, but he really found his touch when we needed him to.


I thought he was solid most of the game and then went up a notch.

Rated his game


Hurley himself wouldn’t be satisfied with that game. Why are we defending him? He is a big boy, and will have much much better games this year.

His hands are made of iron.


What more do you want. The guy racks up 30 almost every week, all the while playing as a key position back man. I don’t know the stats but is there any key defender in the comp that sets up as many oppitunitys to score from the backline then Hurls? and if anyone says Rance I will Hurl!(pun intended) Rance is a great defender but his attacking side is not near the level of Hurly.

The style of game he plays and is instructed to play is risk/reward. So of course he will turn the ball over at times. But he is no doubt in my mind the best attacking key position backman in the comp.


if the big bears first 3 quarters are considered a “bad game” then he is without doubt the greatest footballer that ever lived.

He made some errors, his opponent rarely impacted the game, he disrupted many contests and provided good drive. Wasn’t his best game but was infinitely better than his first 4 games last year.

Also, he didn’t complete an obligatory out of bounds on the full which was a refreshing change and let Saad take that one for round 1.


he looked really sore at times during the game. Hope that it was just a bit of conditioning. He is a superstar and was outstanding again last night


Last year against Hawthorn in round one he looked a little lost and off the pace.

Then he made all Australian.

Slightly off the pace last night but did some really good things. He’ll get there.

We are Essendon supporters. Try supporting.


I think your right. It seems with Hurls that he needs a few games back to kick into beast mode.
Still a great start to the season.