PAUL Hinkley’s work ethic on the football field is underlined by his conscientiousness off it.
Hinkley was up at 5am yesterday to milk cows on his family’s Cobden dairy farm, just four-and-a-quarter hours after Hampden’s team bus dropped him in Camperdown following more than six hours on the road from Wangaratta.
The 26-year-old defender had no complaints.
“It wasn’t too bad,” he said.
The early morning wake up call came less than 12 hours after he earned Hampden’s best player award for keeping former AFL star forward Brendan Fevola to one goal in Saturday’s interleague loss to Ovens and Murray.
“I was pretty nervous before the game,” Hinkley said.
“After all the build up, if I got moved off him in the first five minutes it would have been pretty embarrassing.
“It was a good challenge playing on someone like that.”
Fevola started deep forward and Hinkley’s instructions were to use his athleticism to his advantage.
Coach Nick O’Sullivan said Hinkley provided plenty of run and was creative from his kick-ins at full-back.
“I just played my role,” Hinkley said. He had been keen to keep a clean slate against Fevola, who worked higher up the ground after half-time.
“I went to try and go third man up and the ball trickled out over the back and he snapped a goal,” he said.
Hinkley said Ovens and Murray’s quick ball movement had made it tough for him and his fellow defenders.
“They are just bigger bodies. They are all built like Damian O’Connor in the midfield and quick,” he said.
“We were with them for the first quarter-and-a-half.
“I think our pressure was really good for the first quarter-and-a-half. We were forcing skill errors and that’s why we were in the game. I don’t know if that dropped off or they just stepped up a level after that.”