Hawk Hartung striving for more in AFL

Young gun Billy Hartung is in the minority at Hawthorn, having yet to win an AFL premiership medal.

It’s something the 20-year-old, who earned a Rising Star nomination for his strong showing against Melbourne, is understandably desperate to change.

“You see all the boys around here that have had so much success and I want to be part of it,” Hartung said.

“Obviously seeing the boys win it last year, it’s just made me hungrier to try and get there this season.

“I don’t want to be a bystander on the fringe of the group. I want to be playing finals and to win a premiership.”

Hartung will have to wait until September to see whether the reigning premiers can help him achieve that ambition.

But the speedster knows the only way to get there is to hold his spot in the 22 playing in a club that has incredible depth.

That starts with Saturday’s grand final rematch against Sydney, when midfielders Jordan Lewis and Isaac Smith return from suspension and illness respectively.

“It would be a big game for me,” Hartung said.

“I played against Port in Adelaide and that was really tough, you want to play those sort of matches.”

Hartung’s pace with the ball in hand has captured plenty of attention, but he was more proud of the pressure he put on against the Demons.

It’s something Alastair Clarkson has been working on with the Dandenong Stingrays product he recruited with pick No.24 in the 2013 draft.

“Coming from the juniors, a lot of midfielders are really attacking players and I was no different,” Hartung said.

“My defensive running and defensive transition could be better.

“That’s why I felt like I played a better game against the Demons, both my attacking and defensive sides of the game were there.”

Hartung feels like he’s still got a long way to go, but suggested the likes of Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell are making the path a lot clearer.

“I’m working hard and it makes it a lot easier with the sort of teammates I have around me,” he said.

“It definitely helps your progress.

“Coming to a really strong club, I think it’s been a lot easier for me. I’m lucky.”

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