Mackenzie Doreian has capped a stellar debut year inside the Box Hill Hawks’ system by claiming the Eastern Football League’s Leader Young Gun award.
The youngster, who plies his trade at Blackburn Football Club, saw his achievements and form throughout the EFL season recognised at the competition’s annual awards night this past Wednesday.
“I had no idea I was going to win it,” Doreian begins.
“I went with a mate who was actually invited – I think it was a bit of a stitch up, to be honest. I didn’t even get told I was a chance to win it, but it’s great to be recognised with his award.”
Doreian’s form at community clubs level was rewarded during the season when he made his VFL debut as 23rd man for the Box Hill Hawks in Round 11, playing a part in his side’s 63-point victory over Frankston.
A further two senior appearances followed in rounds 12 and 13 – including his maiden VFL goal against Richmond – before returning to Blackburn for the Club’s push to the preliminary final.
“To get that exposure to a much higher standard – to play at a faster, more highly skilled level – made things a bit easier when I went back to Blackburn.
“That taste of VFL footy allowed me to take a few things into the second half of the year that really helped me improve my game.”
The hard-running midfielder credits his contact with the Hawks during the week and the exposure that affords to elite training programs, standards and coaching as holding him in good stead.
“The help that ‘Banners’ (David Banfield) and ‘Knighta’ (David Knight) give all the young players and the development time they put into us is fantastic.
“They try to get to as many local games as they can and provide really constructive feedback to help us improve.
“I put a lot of my form down to them, but also to ‘Newy,’ Max Bailey, Ricky Petterd and Matt Adolph. They’re awesome at training with all their feedback and the drills they run.”
Recruiting and List Manager Chris Monaghan praised Doreian’s attitude, claiming that attribute was as important a factor in this award as his ability.
“The Club is very proud of Mackenzie and his achievements, which are a direct result of his commitment and work rate.
“We’re really looking forward to the next steps in his football journey.”
Doreian wasn’t the only Hawk to win his share of acclaim on the night.
Tristan Tweedie won selection at centre-half back in the SEN Division 1 Team of the Year.
“Tristan had a terrific season with East Ringwood in EFL Division 1, until a knee injury meant he missed the last four games,” says Monaghan.
“He has fitted in well at the Box Hill Hawks and we are sure he will have an impact in 2019.”