A change of role is paying dividends for Port Fairy midfielder Jake Hetherington

NEW CHALLENGE: Port Fairy midfielder Jake Hetherington, pictured last season, is playing an inside role in 2017. Picture: Amy Paton
NEW CHALLENGE: Port Fairy midfielder Jake Hetherington, pictured last season, is playing an inside role in 2017. Picture: Amy Paton

A CHANGE of role is paying dividends for Port Fairy midfielder Jake Hetherington.

The Geelong-based university student has been among the Seagulls’ best in their first two Hampden league rounds, earning praise from coach Brett Evans.

Hetherington, 21, is relishing the chance to play a part for the flag contenders.

“Coming up through seniors I played more of an outside role as a winger or half-forward,” he said.

“But now I am playing more of an inside mid role and it’s helped my game a lot I think.

“I have definitely been enjoying it. It’s the best footy I think I have played.”

Hetherington booted three goals in the Seagulls’ round two win over Hamilton Kangaroos and is hoping to become a consistent scoring threat.

“The first game I swapped between half-back but I got into the midfield-forward rotation,” he said.

“I much prefer forward (to defence), I’m far more comfortable there.”

Hetherington, a third-year teaching student on three weeks’ placement at a Hoppers Crossing secondary school, said the hard work he put in during pre-season was the catalyst for his strong start.

“It’s the first proper pre-season I have done which probably helps,” he said.

“In past years I’d been busy with surfing but this year knowing it would be a hot team to get into, I put in the extra work and I’ve definitely benefitted.”

Hetherington said Port Fairy was “keeping a lid on it” as expectations around it grows.

He believes the inclusions of two boom recruits – key defender Matt Sully and ruckman Sandy Robinson – have boosted the Seagulls’ confidence.

“We know we have to keep working hard and have a lot of improvements to make,” he said. 

“We still have little lapses in games.

“Both games we’ve played three quarters.

“It’s about keeping focus.

“We need to try to put in a solid four-quarter effort because that’s what will be needed at the end of the season.”

Hetherington started placement at a secondary school on Tuesday as part of his university degree.

He is predominantly working with students in the years seven to 10 range in health and physical education classes.

“It’s good to watch other teachers,” Hetherington said.

“I have most Fridays off so hopefully I can get back home after work and train on Thursdays.”

The high-flying Seagulls play Warrnambool, which is coming off a round one loss to South Warrnambool at Reid Oval on Saturday before a bye for the Koroit Irish Festival.