Source: Sydney Swans
By Nathan Sepe
Taken by Sydney in the Mid-Season Draft, Hugo Hall-Kahan has jumped into a new career and new state quicker than you could imagine.
Speaking to Dragons Media post-draft, Hall-Kahan gave his insight on life at the Swans since the mid-season draft.
Hall-Kahan had some impressive form leading into the mid-season draft, playing a pivotal role in a majority of Sandringham Dragons games earlier on in the NAB League season.
Being selected to take part in the Colgate Young Guns exhibition matches in May this year also allowed Hall-Kahan an opportunity to stand out among the other top-age talents.
Leading into the draft night, Hall-Kahan was projected to reach an AFL club in the 23 picks available.
However, like most hopeful prospects on the night, Hall-Kahan was overwhelmed with nerves, all with some help from friends and family.
“I was with friends and family a lot throughout the day, just trying to get my mind off it,” said Hall-Kahan.
“It then came to draft night and I was very nervous”
Port Adelaide had asked for Hall-Kahan’s parent’s numbers leading up to the draft, giving him a slight indication that the Power were interested.
However, the joy for Hall-Kahan was unmatched when he found out the Sydney Swans had picked him at Pick 11.
“I was just so excited that my name got called out in the end. It was just the best feeling ever.”
The draft coverage wasn’t smooth sailing for Hall-Kahan on the night, with a three-pick delay delivering the news in unusual fashion to Hall-Kahan.
“I was just finished with Port’s pick and I didn’t get picked, so I was starting to get real nervous.”
“Two seconds later I get a phone call, which ended up being Horse (John Longmire).”
‘I was a bit like, what’s going on? I said to him, did I go to the Swans?”
“He said yes and I was just over the moon, I couldn’t believe it.”
Hall-Kahan’s first day in red and white was luckily enough in Melbourne, at the club’s open training session, a day before the Swans played the Demons at the MCG.
Being Hall-Kahan’s first-ever time on the MCG, he labelled the experience as unbelievable and surreal.
The open training session was the first time Hall-Kahan was immersed in the bloods culture, enabling him to meet the fans and players.
When questioned about the impact of fellow teammates from the early stages, Hall-Kahan commended the whole playing group for their ability to immerse him into the culture from the get-go.
“All the boys have been unbelievable, it’s such a tight-knit group.”
“We’ve got such a good culture around here.”
“Oli Florent was one that came to me. I’ve had mutual friends with him, so we got on well back at the hotel.”
Hall-Kahan grew up a Melbourne boy, but has since moved over to Sydney, moving in with fellow Sydney players Logan McDonald, Chad Warner, Dylan Stephens, and Corey Warner.
“The whole team is really close and there’s no one that won’t come up to you and won’t say g’day, it’s such a good group”
The transition from Melbourne to Sydney came with its immediate challenges, with Hall-Kahan commenting on the fast-paced nature of AFL football.
“You go from living at home with your parents and being around your friends and family all day, to seeing none of them and having to do everything on your own.”
“You’ve got to adapt pretty quickly or else you kind of get left behind.”
On the training track, Hall-Kahan was further impressed by Isaac Heeney and his work ethic on and off the ground, whilst also taking inspiration from Chad Warner and Logan McDonald.
“Heeney has always been a big one for me, his body is ridiculous. The work he’s put into it is pretty crazy.”
“The two boys that I’m living with, Chad and Logan have been really impressive. Logan won the rising star nomination last week (Round 11) and Chad is going up another level.”
“Everyone has got really high training standards, everyone has been awesome.”
Hall-Kahan has played four games for Sydney’s VFL squad since the mid-season draft, playing a strong role in the forward line with little time for transition.
In his second game at VFL level, Hall-Kahan kicked five goals against Williamstown, showcasing his name and talent to the AFL world, sparking significant media attention from AFL Central on Instagram.
He has also kicked one goal against the Sandringham Zebras, in which he lined up against familiar faces from his time at the Dragons.
Hall-Kahan is averaging 15.5 disposals, 5.5 marks, 11.5 kicks, and just over a goal per game in the VFL so far.
For Hall-Kahan the plan for the future is dedicated towards a strong work ethic, looking to enhance his football ability to earn a game at AFL level.
“Trying to get a senior game is obviously the main goal, but all you can do is put your best foot forward and do all that’s required.”
“I’m just going to do that and hopefully that can take care of itself and earn selection that way.”
“It’s a pretty good squad that we’ve got so it might not be for a while, but I’m just going to keep trying and put my best foot forward and we’ll see what happens”