Not #39 - Heath Hocking


#481

Should look at coaching


#482

Heath was hard as nails. Was first to resign after saga, Benny was just as hard.
Fond memories of Heath.
Took a screamer against Richmond in the ten yard square if I remember right…


#483

Mature age rookie and VFL captain/coach?


#484

He’ll be a nightmare in a lower league.


#485

If GC hadn’t grabbed Hodge, he would have been good for them.


#486

If he doesn’t get another senior gig then I’d love to see him line up for our VFL team


#487

Seeing as Brisbane grabbed Hodge, maybe he still would be!!


#488

Um, pay no attention to the idiot who wrote the previous post from my account. I’ve safely retrieved my phone now. Honest…


#489

To be fair, eventually the AFL will probably merge them to create the Bear Lion Suns.


#490

Half bear, half lion, half sun


#491

Well done Heath.

Essendon midfielder Heath Hocking takes out VFL best-and-fairest award to end time at club on high
Tim Michell, Moonee Valley Leader
September 28, 2017 11:23am
MIDFIELDER Heath Hocking’s time at Windy Hill finished on a high when he was crowned Essendon’s VFL best-and-fairest on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old was awarded the R.A Freeman Medal, polling 217 votes from 16 games to finish four ahead of Kobe Mutch (213) and seven clear of captain Nick O’Brien (210).

A veteran of 126 senior games, Hocking averaged 18 disposals, five tackles and three marks in the state league this season.

Coach Paul Corrigan described him as a “most deserving winner”.

“I don’t just mean that from a possession point of view but also what he’s been able to do to come back from the AFL level, where he would’ve loved to have played,” Corrigan said.

“He brought back a huge amount of leadership amongst the younger players within the VFL side.”

Hocking was delisted by the Bombers earlier this month.

Small forward James Peters was named the club’s best first-year player, while Nick Hind won the clubman award.

Corrigan has handed the reins to Dan Jordan for 2018 after being elevated to a forward coaching role with Essendon’s senior team.

Jordan has served as a performance coach with the Bombers and was formerly in charge of

New Essendon VFL coach Dan Jordan. Picture: AFL media.
Ballarat Football League outfit East Point.

“Dan Jordan has been at the club for three years now and gets an opportunity to coach his own side, which he has done previously in the Ballarat Football League,” Bombers VFL operations manager Ash Brown said.

“Being an AFL development coach he already has established relationships with all of our VFL list and obviously the AFL guys that came through the VFL this year.

“It’s a really good appointment for our program and he will no doubt take the club and the program in the direction we are hoping it will go.”

Essendon has already signed several members of its VFL squad for 2018, including two players off to the state draft combine next week — ruckman Kieran Strachan and Hind.

Forward Alex Boyse and defender James Ferry also received invites.

“I think all four boys bring something unique from each other,” Brown said.


#492

Brisvegas Sunbears!


#493


PLAYERS’ VOICE — HEATH HOCKING
By Heath Hocking Nov 3, 2017

It feels like yesterday that I was dreading the drive to the Essendon Football Club.

The place that had been my workplace for close to a decade was in turmoil at the height of the supplements saga that we all now know so much about.

In 2013, things started changing. The media were camped outside of the club throughout the majority of the season.

The continuous barrage of questions and the fear of getting something wrong or saying something you’re not supposed to led to an anxious walk to into the club each day.

During the year, the continual stress of rocking up to cameras and inquiries about things we were all still grappling with wasn’t ideal for my mental health.

The only relief would be actually getting onto the ground and training or playing with my teammates.

This continued for two and a half years. Initially, I’d say it didn’t affect my life away from the club but after speaking to my wife she said I was actually pretty grumpy more often than not, stressed and perhaps not as attentive as I usually was.

I was struggling while thinking I was going along as normal. It wasn’t until she told me I was stressed which made me realise how it was affecting me and those around me negatively.

That was the start of it. We had to get briefed if we were going to say anything. Thoughts of, ‘How am I going to handle this? What if I’m thrown a curveball and how can I answer?” That would begin during the drive into the club. Not knowing what to do in those situations was hard to deal with.

It was overwhelming. Combine that with the regular scrutiny of playing elite football and trying to perform each week and it all became a bit too much.

Because football is a game filled with scrutiny and criticism, that period was when I realised that having some sort of support outside of football for my mental health was important.

In late 2015, we had a team meeting and some general conversations started where a few teammates opened up about their troubles and I remember one player saying he got help outside of footy.

That was the turning point for me. Hearing a colleague — who is a teammate and a friend — say that really broke down that superman persona that AFL players have and I thought if they’re getting help, maybe it will help me. Seeing it work for them was the catalyst for me deciding to get some help.

I went through the AFLPA and their services led me to someone outside of the footy club, which I think was important. They are impartial to the cut and thrust of what’s going on at the Essendon Football Club or the AFL in general.

I met a professional and immediately noticed a difference.

I was given a few techniques to handle certain scenarios and things to constantly work on in my day-to-day life. I think it helps in regards to being a footballer but more in my ability to function and thrive in general life.

I never thought I needed professional help because I’m an AFL player, but mental health isn’t black or white. It’s like a continuum and I had slid into the lower half. Some people suffer worse than others but it was beneficial for me to learn more about my emotional reactions to certain situations so I can thrive each day.

I started by seeing a professional once every couple of weeks, which it still is to this day. It’s a regular visit because you’re never 100 per cent on top of your mental health issues.

I’m entering another challenging phase in that I’m transitioning out of the game. I’ve been fortunate enough to play footy for 12 years so these appointments will be important during this stressful time to keep my mental health in check.

The mental health space in professional sport — particularly Australian Rules — has come a long way since I began playing in 2005 but it needed to because the pressures of the game are only getting larger.

Public and media scrutiny has been enhanced through social media and the continual coverage of the game. Playing in the AFL is a highly demanding job and one we have little control over which makes support networks all the more important for longevity and mental health while in the game.

But there are more avenues to get help now. Resources are at an all-time high and services are readily available.

It’s important to preach the message to other players that seeking help is normal. And while it’s sad to see guys like Lance Franklin, Tom Boyd and Alex Fasolo take time away from the game due to mental health issues, it’s great they feel comfortable enough to announce their struggles publicly — that’s a sign of real strength.

Because, as young men, we can be a bit stubborn at times but we’re all human beings playing a difficult game.

The stigma is being broken down steadily and there’s been improvement which is important for the game but let’s not become complacent.


#494

Excellent article. We have no idea what these players went through. Great to hear he got and continues to get support from professionals


#495

Revealing. Goes to many of the issues, that have developed over the duration of Heath’s career. Things have changed greatly, and it is all a bit of a learning exercise. Good to hear that the attitudes have changed, and for the better.


#496

I think the impact it had on our club and the players in particular is far greater than any of us could ever imagine.

The fact that we have come out of it as well as we have is a credit to everyone involved in the club and that includes the members/supporters.

We aren’t the greatest club in the land for no reason.


#497

Goes without saying the saga robbed him of his best footy, which is a real shame.

I always thought his uncontested work/finishing was highly underrated, if he only had more pace he could have been a real weapon


#498

Beautiful left foot
??? Right? Did he have one?


#499

Amen.


#500

Given his age, his best football was probably done by the time the saga really ■■■■■■ things up. No doubt though he came back this year as a worse player.