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Kiwi Hawk staying positive despite double hip surgery

AFL 2013 Training - AIS-AFL Academy Training 080113
Kurt Heatherley in action during an AIS-AFL Academy training session in January
Obviously I already know I'm way behind on my kicking so I'd love to be out there but that's just the way it is
HAWTHORN'S international rookie Kurt Heatherley is still four months off resuming football as the promising recruit works through his recovery from surgery on both of his hips.  

The 18-year-old New Zealander had surgery on the hips (one operation about six weeks after the other) in February to shave off some bone to expand his range of movement in the joints.

Also a member of the AIS-AFL Academy squad now in Europe, Heatherley has been forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates train.

During Friday's freezing session at Surrey Sportspark, he was on the sidelines, unable to join in any drills.

"Obviously I already know I'm way behind on my kicking so I'd love to be out there but that's just the way it is," Heatherley told

"I've got to move forward and smash out the rehab and hopefully there's no more injuries after this."

While his entire rehabilitation program has been facilitated through the Hawks, Heatherley is targeting a return in July through his TAC Cup side the Sandringham Dragons.

"It's still a fair way away but there's no rush. So if it takes me an extra few rounds to return so be it," he said.

Heatherley was first spotted playing basketball by Hawks recruiting manager Graham Wright in 2009, and is now being groomed to be a defender.

Already the 192cm prospect has found himself drawn to new Hawks recruit Brian Lake, asking him questions and taking in as much as he can to learn about the role.

"I've been sitting next to him in team meetings. He knows everything about the game and I tend to pick his brain a lot," the young Hawthorn player said.

Kurt Heatherley at training in Surrey this week. Picture: Callum Twomey

Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.