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Ballantyne’s privilege

Hayden Ballantyne is awarded life membership at the 2017 Doig Medal Presentation DInner Hayden Ballantyne is humbled to receive Life Membership at the club.

Earning life membership at Fremantle was always going to be a memorable moment for Hayden Ballantyne, but it was extra special with Freo legend Matthew Pavlich involved in the presentation.

The pair makes up Fremantle’s top-two all-time goalkickers. While Pavlich’s total of 700 is well out of reach for Ballantyne, who sits on 232 goals, the small forward takes heart knowing he was still involved in many of Pavlich’s best moments. 

“I’ve told 'Pav' about plenty of times I’ve made him look good over the years with his 700 goals,” Ballantyne joked during the Doig Medal Presentation Dinner last Saturday.

“I think I might have set up about 200 but it was a privilege to play alongside Pav and a privilege to play for the Fremantle Football Club. 

“To realise you’ve been accepted into the club for the rest of my life is an honour. To see the other names up there as well, it’s a decorative club to be in and I'm privileged to be a part of it.”

Ballantyne thanked a number of people in his emotional speech, including senior coach Ross Lyon, his former clubs Baldivis Football Club and Peel Thunder, his family and wife Alyssa. 

“I haven’t written anything down for Alyssa because she doesn’t need anything written down - she’s been a rock for me,” Ballantyne said.

“She nursed me through broken jaws, torn hamstrings and broken dreams when we’ve failed to play on the big stage. You’ve been a rock for me and I really love you and everything you’ve done for me.”

The 30-year-old highlighted the lengths his family went to support him during the 2008 WAFL season that saw Ballantyne win the Sandover Medal.

“My dad in 2008, he made me a deal that he would give me $30 per goal, he was regretting when I kicked 76 for the year, so it was an expensive season for him,” Ballantyne said.

“In the same year Mum would drop off two Tupperware containers of food that lead into the games for that weekend.

“Living a single life in a rental with mates, they were the best meals of the week. They went a long way to me performing through that season and to eventually being drafted to Fremantle.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs