Running it back - Hanrahan refuses to give up on AFL dreams
Angus Hanrahan watched the 2018 AFL Draft with his parents, Liz and Tim.
Having represented Vic Metro at the National Championships and attended the National Draft Combine, the external expectation was for the classy wingman to find an AFL home.
But after 60 picks he couldn’t watch another moment.
“I just got sick of it,” Hanrahan says.
As both the National and Rookie Drafts came to their conclusion – while Hanrahan was avoiding updates – the St Kevin’s product was left without a home and facing another 12 months working towards an AFL career.
After conversations with key figures at Sandringham, it was decided returning as a 19-year-old was his best chance to impress recruiters a second time around.
“It really is a shocking experience going through it (missing out at the draft),” he says.
“I was pretty shattered for one or two days but life moves on…I went away for a bit then pretty much got straight back into Dragons training as a 19-year-old.
“It was shattering and hard to take for a few days but I found myself pretty comfortable to move on, set new goals and try and have another crack.”
Angus’s older brother, Hawthorn’s Ollie Hanrahan, was completing a preseason trip to the Kokoda Track and had no phone reception or any idea of whether Angus had realised his dream.
In a busy period for both boys, it was weeks before Ollie could sit down and offer guidance to his younger brother.
“I got a message from him (Ollie) when I was away to tell me not to worry about it but it was more when I got back that I had a good chat with him,” he says.
“Obviously, he’s in the industry so I had a good chat with him and a few other people on what’s best moving forward and how I can get myself back in a position to put my hand up to an AFL club.
“It’s pretty hard because you can’t say much as you can’t do anything about it.”
But despite the disappointment of missing out last year, Hanrahan went on to put together a stellar 2019 NAB League campaign for the Dragons and claim Sandringham’s Runner Up Best-and-Fairest award.
An inspired preseason and reinvigorated love of the game propelled the 184cm right-footer to averages of 24 touches, six marks and one goal per game, well up on his already impressive 2018 numbers.
Hanrahan uses the ball like few others juniors in the country and is an elite decision-maker, and a noticeable lift in work rate and competitiveness helped him get the best out of himself in his return.
“I didn’t really have a preseason last year because I was playing cricket at school so to get that really gave me a good base to launch at the start of the year,” he says.
“I had pretty high expectations for the level of performance I wanted to produce and I was really proud of my back end of the season.
“After the Midseason Draft I really clicked into gear and played career-best footy and was able to show some improvement and development.”
Any doubts over his ability to perform consistently were quashed late in the season with a 33-disposal, 3.1 outing in Tasmania followed by a 23-disposal, 2.0 outing against eventual premiers Oakleigh in a thriller.
Hanrahan starred and did so against the best.
Spending a year out of school also allowed him to gain valuable life perspective and undertake a double degree in Exercise Sports Science and Business at Deakin University.
But it’s footy that is still firmly front of mind ahead of the 2019 AFL Draft.
“I do have my walls up after last year so I’m not really putting any expectations on it,” he says.
“I’ve prepared for an AFL preseason if it happens but in saying that I’ve got no real expectations going into it…it’s a bit scary after last year.
“I’m optimistic about it but definitely lowered any expectations for it and have a plan B if it doesn’t work out.”