IT was a triple treat for Hawthorn fans yesterday after the brown and gold officially named a trio of pre-listed Eastern Ranges to join their AFLW list. Hayley McLaughlin was the third of those players, joining current and now future teammates Laura Stone and Jess Vukic at the elite level. We spoke to all three players at the AFLW Draft Combine, and in a special Hawk series we will take a look into their journeys and aspirations, continuing with McLaughlin.
Q: A big top-age year for you getting to run out for the Ranges, and you made a Grand Final how was that?
Hayley McLaughlin: “That was so good, we had a really good season and I think the girls bonded really well as a group which was part of our success. Making the grand final was awesome, it was such a good experience, especially playing on Ikon, that was so cool. Obviously didn’t get the win which was a bit disappointing but it was still really good experience.”
Q: You also got to travel around with Vic Metro as well?
HM: “That was such a good experience. I think we got to meet the other girls from other teams which made it really more fun. Travelling and then playing was so fun.”
Q: You locked down the wing pretty well this year, is that where you play your best footy?
HM: “It’s the main position I played this year and I seemed to like it and I think it’s a good fit for myself. I really enjoyed it.”
Q: What are your strengths as a footballer?
HM: “I’d say reading the play and decision making. Making good decisions with the ball and without the ball, and my two-way running.”
Q: What are you looking to work on?
“Definitely aerial wise, like marking and getting a bit stronger and bigger, working on strength.”
Q: Are there any players at the next level you look up to or try to mould your game on?
HM: “Georgia Gee is someone I like watching and modelling my game on a bit. Oviously similar sizes but also the way she uses the ball, it’s really good to watch.”
Q: Who do you support?
HM: “I’m a Hawthorn supporter.”
Q: Outside of footy what else do you have going on?
HM: “I’m in Year 12 at the moment so looking to go to uni next year.”
Q: What do you want to study?
HM: “Probably something in heath science or nutrition.”