Ben Beaven went into 2015 with one simple goal: to enjoy his footy.
After making the permanent move back home to Sandgate from Aspley’s NEAFL side, Beaven’s biggest focus was having fun, knowing the rest would fall into place.
Fall into place it did, with Beaven claiming the Hawks Best and Fairest Award for 2015.
“Personally I just wanted to enjoy my football again, and I definitely did that. Half way through the year I thought to myself I’m not going too bad, but you never know what’s going to happen,” Beaven said.
“I just had a lot of fun really this year. I wanted to get back to enjoying my football, so I just focused on having fun and let my game take care of itself.”
Beaven is a leader at Sandgate in more ways than one. The biggest though, is the example he sets on field.
Whether it’s racking up possession after possession driving the Hawks forward, or cracking in at the 50/50 ball, Beaven sets the standards, and sets them pretty high.
“Being young myself, but still being one of the senior players, you just find yourself having to set the example,” he said.
“One of the biggest things for me this year was putting my head over the footy and never shirking at it. I enjoy seeing someone coming at me the other way, going harder and coming out with the ball.”
The Hawks started the year very strongly, and Beaven was a major catalyst for that.
They shocked the QAFL world when they rolled Palm Beach in round 2, but Beaven had to enjoy it a little differently to most.
“The strong start to the year was the most pleasing thing. I was disappointed I missed out on one of our better wins, I was working away so I missed out on the Palm Beach game, but I was pretty much on the phone all day finding out how they were going,” he said.
“To see how we did go was excellent, and I was getting really excited for the next half of the year. It was a little bit disappointing towards the end but it was a good start.”
When you have as young a list as Sandgate did this year, fade-outs late in the year are understandable, but with the signs they showed early, and the talent in the group, Beaven believes the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented.
“With a lot of the young blokes having to play key position, hopefully the recruitment staff are doing a good job where we can push them from say a centre-half forward to a half-forward flank where they should be, and where they can still dominate there. It’s laid a really good foundation for that,” he said.
“I don’t think it will take much. We came close a lot this year. If we isolate the first three quarters of a game I don’t think our percentage would be that bad at all, it’s just that last quarter that really hurt us. A few key players – not many, just a few – and I think we are right in the hunt.”
In a scary thought for the rest of the competition, Beaven believes he can go to another level again in 2016.
“I definitely want to put in a big pre-season, I think I was a bit down on fitness if I’m honest. I think it’s something I can definitely improve, and hopefully set the example at training so that other people do the same,” he said.
Now that he is home, don’t expect him to be packing his bags anytime soon.
“Yeah it definitely is home. I love it down there; I’ve got a lot of ties down there.”
By Andrew Wiles