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Thank you Ballas

Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 8:27 AM by Owen Davies

Peel Thunder club legend and 2008 Sandover Medallist Hayden Ballantyne has retired after a 15-year Senior Football career. 

Ballantyne, originally from Baldivis Junior Football Club, informed the playing group of his decision before the squad broke for Christmas break, with his body unable to hold up for another season of WAFL footy.

A 2-time Colts Premiership winner with the club in ’04 & ’05, Ballantyne made his Senior Football debut in a win against East Perth in Round 7 2005 when he was only 17. He became a mainstay of the senior squad playing 59 games through the end of 2008 and was awarded the Sandover Medal at the end of that season after a dominant year in which he booted 75 goals playing between the midfield and forward lines.

His dominant 2008 led to being drafted by Fremantle with 21st overall pick in the 2008 National Draft. He would go on to play 171 games and kick 254 goals in 11 seasons with the Dockers, before returning to the club full-time at the start of 2020.

It probably didn’t go quite as planned for Hayden, as COVID-19 severed our alignment with Fremantle for 2020 and turned the season from a year of possible contention into a year of development. Ballantyne however was still thankful to be able to come back to the club that helped nurture his football journey and in turn impart some of his wisdom on to the playing group.

“It was a privilege for me to come back to where it all started and repay the footy club last year.” Ballantyne said.

“To pass on some of the knowledge and experience that I gained from my time in the AFL system will hopefully help some of the young guys coming through and I look forward to watching on and see them develop for in the years to come.” 

"It was great to come back and play some footy with guys like Benny Howlett and some of the other guys who I'd played a lot of footy with as a junior and before getting drafted, we may not have had a lot of success on the field but it was still enjoyable just to play with some mates for another year."

New General Manager of Football Operations Matt Rosa believes that the influence Ballantyne will leave on the club will be invaluable to the young core group of players.

“No doubt the example he has set will shine through in our squad in the coming years” Rosa said.

“When you speak to former teammates about Ballas there is no doubt he has been a favourite to play with because of his selfless, passionate and competitive nature.”

Hayden bows out after 80 Senior games and 159 goals (4th all-time for the club) stretching over 9 seasons. Everyone at the Peel Thunder Football club wish Hayden and his family all the best for the future and thank him for all of his efforts across the journey that he has given our club.