UQ midfielder George Hannaford is the round 8 QAFL Syd Guildford nominee.
Hannaford, 21, was the difference in the Red Lions’ win over Sandgate on Saturday. He was the man that strapped the team to his back and got down to business.
Hannaford has been the Red Lions’ best all year. It was no surprise the Hawks coaching group sent someone to lock down on him at the first bounce.
“I thought I had another solid game. I had to overcome an early tag, and ran pretty hard it beat that, and end up playing my role for the team I think,” Hannaford said.
When the tagger went straight to his hip at the first bounce, he knew what he had to do.
“I just increased my work rate. I tried to run harder than the other bloke, and I know that with my fitness at the moment, I can beat most people in the comp in terms of work rate,” he said.
Hannaford – who grew up playing footy in Adelaide before moving to UQ to study – was the star, but UQ had to fight tooth and nail for the win.
“It was a strong effort from the boys. We were three goals up at the final break, but Sandgate came out really strong and kicked the first four of the quarter. To be seven points down, to turn that around and win by a goal is a credit to the team, and shows that when we have the belief we can achieve that,” Hannaford said.
And it’s immediately lifted the mood around Field 9.
“It was definitely a better vibe down at training. Its good to get the first win, now we know we can achieve more, and win those close games,” he said.
When Hannaford rocked up at pre-season training, and didn’t have his partners in the middle like Pfeiffer and Tebbut back with him, he knew he had to step up.
“I knew what was coming. I put in a bigger effort over pre-season. I knew I would be helping out a lot of younger blokes, so I had to take on more of a load in there, and have tried to embrace it,” he said.
The man known around the UQ traps as ‘the beast,’ has done more than embrace it. He hasn’t played a bad game yet.
So much so, he was selected in the Queensland state team squad a few weeks ago, and is hoping his name is on the final list of 23 for the game against the WAAFL when it is announced tomorrow.
“It’s been really good. I didn’t know what to expect going in there, but everyone has been very welcoming of each other, and I think the team will do well come Friday night,” Hannaford said.
The win may have been the first, but Hannaford sure hopes it isn’t the last.
“I definitely want to get a few more wins on the board, which is the team goal. Personally I just want to keep the standard up that I have set across the first eight games,” he said.
With the Queensland vs. WAAFL game this Friday night, UQ’s next game will be against Broadbeach on the coast on June 11.
By Andrew Wiles