Senior grand final a dream come true for 'Junior' Hoy

LIAM Hoy was in the middle of a waltz at deb ball practice in May when his mobile phone started ringing.

He quickly glanced at the screen to see who it was. When he realised it was Warrnambool senior coach Scott Carter, he knew he had to answer it.

“He asked me if I wanted to have a run in the seniors,” the 16-year-old said.

That was the first week of May and Hoy made his senior debut with Warrnambool against Port Fairy three days later in round four.

He has been in the seniors ever since, playing 15 matches predominantly as a crumbing forward.

The year 11 student said he was still trying to come to terms with his rise to senior footy.

“Walking around at school with my mates, some kids come up and say ‘you’re only 16 and you’re playing in a grand final’,” he said. “I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true at my age. Some people never play in a grand final let alone being a 16-year-old and doing it. It’s pretty unreal.”

Hoy, whose nickname Hoysa has changed to Junior since VFL-listed defender Liam Hoy returned for the second semi-final, is excited about Saturday’s grand final showdown with Cobden.

“I can’t wait. It’s been a bit of a wait. I’m just looking forward to it coming around,” he said.

Hoy, who is eligible to play under 16s this season, started the year with a simple aim. 

“I just wanted to play at the highest level I could,” he said.

He played with the North Ballarat Rebels’ under 16 side as a midfielder and was the last player cut from the Victorian under 16 squad before the national championships.

He was contemplating his next move when coach Carter’s call interrupted deb practice and changed his season. 

“I couldn’t have enjoyed the year any more,” he said, despite missing out on the Blues’ under 16 premiership. “I talk with Tilty (Carter) at most trainings. I’m absolutely loving it. I’m always keen to learn. On the field if Josh Walters or Dusty (captain Dustin McCorkell) are near you, they are always giving you advice. You can always learn different things.”

Hoy, who will play across half-forward on Saturday, said he was good mates with fellow teenagers Jackson Bell, Jake O’Donnell and Jed Turland, who also played in the second semi-final win over Cobden.

Hoy, whose father Graham was a tough defender with Old Collegians in the 1990s, said he enjoyed getting feedback and support from his dad.

He said he was already thinking about next year. He wants to make the North Ballarat Rebels’ under 18 side’s TAC Cup list but he knows he will have to spend plenty of time running with his pet dog Baz over summer.

His Warrnambool College physical education teacher Gault McCluggage has been working with him on a fitness program that takes into consideration his young age.

“I’m already looking forward to pre-season. Next year is going to be a pretty big year for me,” Hoy said.

But first he wants to be part of a Blues premiership on Saturday.

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