Father and Son: Mark and Lachlan Hunter

I first met Mark Hunter in the year 2000. The event was the St Mary’s Primary School Williamstown P&F progressive dinner. The venue, for the main course, was Mark and Colleen’s house in Hannan St. Helen noticed the pictures first – on the walls in the hallway on the way to the loo – pictures of horses and of footballers. A bit of research revealed that Mark was an ex-Footscray footballer who had an interest (financial and emotional) in the horses. As prep parents, Bill being our oldest, this was our first school parent function. Mark and Colleen had an older child, Lauren but also had Lachlan in prep. Seeing common sporting interest, we introduced ourselves to the Hunters, and even talked them into progressing to the dessert venue when their plan had been to stay put.

 

With the school and eventually the Auskick connections, the families became friends. Being the unassuming person he is, Mark didn’t speak much of his football, but I do remember his saying at some stage that he was looking to amend an error in the Encyclopaedia of AFL footballers. His record had 93 games when he actually he had played 130 senior games for Footscray. This wasn’t an ego thing – it was just to ensure that if there was ever any question about a future opportunity for his son Lachlan to be picked up by the Dogs as a father-son selection, that 100-game threshold was significant. Subsequent editions of the book had the correct figure.

 

In early days at Auskick, it was obvious that Lach was a future footballer. His best adversary at that stage was probably his sister Lauren who joined in intermittently. Eventually Lauren veered away from football to her mother’s sport – lacrosse. Last year Lauren represented Australia at under 19 level and this week is in the US as part of the selection process for the senior national team. Not that the football genes are absent on Colleen’s side: her brother Tony is the father of Jarrad and Mark McVeigh.

 

Mark was always present for Lachlan’s football. Once Lach graduated from Auskick to the competitive game, Mark offered his services as a coach and the Williamstown Juniors teams enjoyed a great deal of success from under 11s through to under 16s. Over the last couple of years I have spent quite a number of Saturdays on the sidelines with Mark watching Lachlan represent his school St Kevin’s in the APS competition. (My own son, at the same school, would have already completed his school football obligations a number of hours earlier.) One of the highlights was the pack-mark-speccie Lachlan took in the goal-square against Scotch earlier this year. The video footage, which eventually made it onto the Footy Show “Almost Footy Legends” segment, didn’t do the mark justice.

 

On Monday October 8, Lachlan Hunter will probably know his immediate football future. Unlike the majority of the several hundred aspirants, hopefully he won’t have to sit around waiting for his name to be called – the deal will already have been done. His last two best-on-ground games with Western Jets made it more likely he would be picked up. Further assessments will be made at the draft combine which Lachlan is attending at docklands this week. The process is as follows:

 

  • If Bulldogs are to officially nominate Lachlan as a father-son selection, they must do so by October 5.
  • Any of the other clubs may then indicate their willingness to select him with a specific one of their own draft picks.
  • The Bulldogs then have to nominate their next available draft selection to take him.
  • If Bulldogs don’t match the bid, the nominating club is obliged to take him.
  • If no other club nominates that they will select Lachlan, the Dogs can take him with their final selection.

 

Whichever way it goes, if he is to go father-son, he will know pre-draft. If Bulldogs don’t nominate him as father-son, then he is part of the regular draft.

 

The announcement a couple of weeks ago that the Bulldogs-Williamstown alliance will continue for one more year was good news for the Hunter household. If Lachlan does get picked up by the Bulldogs, then Williamstown’s Burbank Oval will be handy to their home. The normal apprenticeship for a first year has them spending the majority of time with the feeder club which would have Lachlan playing games for Williamstown. However, whether the game is nearby or across the state – Mark will be, as always, quietly present on the sidelines, perhaps taking the opportunity at the breaks to provide a word or two of advice. If it all does go as hoped, Mark will be happy he took the trouble to ensure that his own football playing record was corrected. We will know on October 8.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.

Comments

  1. Skip of Skipton says:

    The ‘scray probably don’t need another 5’11” father-son midfielder right at the moment, but I’m sure they will have him unless someone else puts in a high bid. Good to see.

    Mark was a good back pocket, occasional mid in some handy Footscray sides. Racing tipster thesedays.

  2. Andrew Fithall says:

    Lachie was the top scorer in today’s agility test at the draft combine. That sort of performance will lift his profile and increase the likelihood of going to a club other than bulldogs.

  3. Nervous and exciting times in the Hunter household, AF.

    My main memory of Mark at Auskick was saying to Lachie “Practice your right foot kicks!”

  4. Andrew Fithall says:

    Lachlan was interviewed by Collingwood yesterday. Nathan asked a lot of the questions directly. Pretty sure Mark would not cope well if Lachie ended up with the Pies. In fact, I am VERY sure he would not cope well.

    You may have noted a new record was set for the standing jump at the draft camp. This is a dubious test being the differential between your standing stretch reach and then the height you reach from your standing jump. If, for some reason (???), you do not extend your reach for the initial measure, you have an improved opportunity to increase the differential.

  5. Skip of Skipton says:

    Definitely going to the Dogs, according to an Age article. He scored the quickest time in the Agility test at the draft camp.

  6. Andrew Fithall says:

    Mark just advised that Lachlan is officially going to be drafted by the Bulldogs with pick 46.

  7. Welcome to your rightful home, Lachlan. I predict you’ll be a member of the next Bulldogs premiership team. No pressure, though.

  8. Ah Gigs,

    that’s where those pink pills that went missing from the third draw in the bathroom at the Rocky Cape shack in early June went too.

    They are rather good aren’t they.

  9. ABWBC Andrew.

  10. I told Mark that Lachie gets his ability from his mother’s side!

    By the way, “handy to their home” is an understatement!

  11. Andrew Fithall says:

    Pleased to see that Lachlan has been selected to play his first game for the Bulldogs this Saturday night against Richmond. I spoke to Mark this afternoon and he is very proud. There will be quite a few Williamstown people at the game in support of Lachlan and family. Me included.

  12. Go LACHLAN HUNTER! I hope that by flying through the air, he fascinates the crowd, thereby doing his anagram – LAUNCH; ENTHRAL. Or if he’s more commonly known as LACHIE HUNTER, I hope he lays someone out (fairly of course) with his one of his other anagrams – HURCULEAN HIT.

  13. Congrats to Lachie and the family. Williamstown is a seriously impressive community if their sporting clubs and lit festival are the indications I suspect they are.

  14. Consecutive games over 30 disposals with a higher propensity for kicks – looks like Lachie Hunter is entering a Premiership Window with one of the most spectacular younger teams to grace the AFL/VFL since the baby bombers in 1993

  15. Spot on Acker! I’m pretty comfortable now with that prediction I made above in October 2012.

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