Dockers champ joins Westcoast
FREMANTLE Dockers champion Hayden Ballantyne has joined Westcoast – not the arch-rival across town, but the rapidly growing, locally-owned Westcoast Wool & Livestock team in WA.
Just days after playing his final game with the Dockers, Hayden has taken little time to list with another team and is looking forward to developing his passion for livestock production and career in the agricultural industry. He will be supporting producers throughout the South West as a livestock representative with the company.
Hayden played 171 games for Fremantle and won an All-Australian guernsey in 2014, goal of the year in 2011 and was a member of the 2015 Australian International Rules team.
He is still considering his playing options in 2020 and if not offered an attractive contract from another AFL club, could be strapping on the boots for Peel Thunder or a team in the South West Football League.
The forward pocket specialist has been renowned for constantly buzzing around the forward line and it has been a similar story off the field.
“Why rest? If I sit around for two days I would go crazy,’’ said Hayden, upon joining the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team.
In recent years he has been operating an 800-1000 head beef cattle feedlot near Donnybrook and this year, following in the footsteps of his father, Graham, commenced training thoroughbreds, recently notching his first win with ‘Mankind’ at a Saturday Ascot meeting.
Hayden’s interest in livestock and the agriculture industry has sparked from spending time with his stepfather, local cattle buyer Greg Jones, and attending livestock market sales at Muchea, Boyanup and Mount Barker.
He joined the Westcoast Wool & Livestock southern team at the company’s first sales at Mount Barker Regional Saleyards last Thursday.
“They were the ‘new kids on the block’ at the Mount Barker sale and I’m a ‘new kid on the block’, so it’s a good fit and I’m looking forward to it,’’ Hayden said.
“They are an up and coming group with a good vibe, I like the challenge of continuing to improve and so I am excited to join the company and to keep learning the craft.’’
While Hayden has a stronger understanding of cattle, he is also keen to build his sheep and wool knowledge with the business.
In his new role, he is looking forward to meeting up with more producers throughout the South West.
“Agriculture is a great industry with great people.’’
“I know a lot of farmers and talking about footy is a great way to make connections, so I’m looking forward to it,’’ he said.
Gerald Wetherall, Livestock Manager with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, said the company was excited to welcome Hayden’s strong profile to the business.
“Hayden is a people person with a strong profile who will be welcomed throughout the industry,’’ Gerald said.
“He brings a new set of eyes and will add to the energy in our business.
“His appointment continues our journey and our strong growth path in the industry.’’