From Halls Creek to the Hayward
A Lion has finished the 2020 SWFL season with the coveted Hayward Medal, crediting his time playing football in Halls Creek with AFL players for his success.
Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault’s Brendan Tingey was awarded the season’s highest honour after a stand-out performance with last year’s premiers.
The 24-year-old racked up 14 votes, in what will forever be remembered as the “COVID season”, polling just two ahead of Busselton’s Ethan Maguire.
Tingey played a smooth game through the midfield alongside last year’s Hayward winner and former Fremantle Docker Jesse Crichton.
“I actually thought Bunbury’s Jesse Gribble might have won or that Jesse Crichton would go back-to-back,” Tingey said.
“Crichton is a very competitive and selfless mid and I saw club legend and former Hayward winner Tony Strano at the club during the medal count so thought the medal might have been coming to a Lion, because Tony never comes in for a drink on a Friday, he always comes on the Saturday,” he joked.
Strano handed Tingey the medal during a livestreamed count and congratulated him on the win.
He also said he planned on staying at the club for a little longer, despite being from the Peel region.
“I felt at home at HBL,” he said.
“The first day I rocked up I had people come and offer me a bed because they knew I had to travel.
“I think the Sabournes, Abletts and Carbones all came up to me within a minute and offered me a place to stay.
“I have played at a few clubs over the years, but none have been as welcoming as the Lions.”
Tingey played at a string of clubs in his junior career because his mother moved around to teach in rural Aboriginal communities.
The Hayward winner recalled playing at Halls Creek alongside AFL players.
“I remember running around barefoot with Shane McAdam who now plays for Adelaide and Jy Farrar who plays for Gold Coast,” he said.
There must be something in the water in Halls Creek, which is home to many other talented AFL players including Sam Petrevski-Seton from Carlton, Francis Watson from West Coast and Cedric Cox from Brisbane.
As a 10-year-old he had to play with 15 and 16-year-old boys because there were not enough kids to make a junior league.
“I learnt a lot playing up there, football was everything in those communities and the kids were lightning quick.
“There is a lot of talent in Halls Creek, the game is really free-flowing and there are a lot of aerial displays which makes it entertaining.
“Mum was a respected school teacher, so I was known as Mrs Tingey’s son who played football.”
Tingey went on to play WAFL in the Colts competition for Peel Thunder, but decided to focus on his career after the age of 18.
“I didn’t get drafted at 18 and I’m a realist, so I thought I would go and get an apprenticeship and set my life up and focus on footy after,” he said.
He later went on to play in the Peel League for the Baldivis Brumbies where he won the 2018 league’s best and fairest and the 2019 premiership flag.
“I love footy, I have made some great mates and even greater memories.”
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