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Irish Lion Hanley a home-ground hero

Pearce Hanley has emerged as an AFL Fantasy star in 2013 - ${keywords}
Pearce Hanley has emerged as an AFL Fantasy star in 2013
Trying to explain the rules of the AFL to a visitor of our country can be quite challenging, and watching them attempt a kick with the oval ball can be very amusing.

A friend of mine recently visited Australia for the first time from Canada, and his first try at kicking a footy was something he'll most probably never forget (I know I won't!). Somehow he managed to kick the ball directly into his own face, despite bragging about his ball skills just moments earlier.

A trip to the MCG later that day left him astounded at how skillful AFL players are, drawing the conclusion that only Australian-born people would flourish considering the practice needed with such an odd-shaped ball.

He is, of course, very wrong. Some migrants pick up footy so seamlessly you’d think they had been playing since the very early years of their lives. The league is littered with past players born abroad who went on to be outstanding footballers.

Pearce Hanley - the dashing defender from the Brisbane Lions - is one such natural. Originally from Ireland, Hanley could only manage three games and a Dream Team average of 56 (in 2008) and 27 (2009) in his first two years of senior football, but his rise to stardom began soon after.

Last year, the 24-year-old showed signs of being a very handy pick up for your back half, finishing with an average of 82.55, but he has taken another giant step forward this season, currently holding an average of over 100 – one of only 27 players in the competition after round eight to achieve such a feat.

And it seems Hanley is still a creature of habit. Despite making the brave move to the Southern Hemisphere, he has clearly found a niche at his home ground in Queensland.

The Irishman has been in super form at the Gabba, averaging over 126 Fantasy points in two games in 2013, and you would expect another big game from him against the Blues on Saturday night.

You’ve got to love the way Hanley plays football, and his rise to fame now sees him in almost 32,000 Fantasy sides across the competition.

At present, he is worth $471,400, but with a breakeven score of just 69 this week, that figure looks set to move perilously close to half a million dollars for the first time in his flourishing career.

Mr Fantasy’s trade recommendations

Ins: Pearce Hanley (Brisbane), Brad Crouch (Adelaide)
While Hanley is not a cheap buy, his stocks continue to rise and his breakeven score this week is certainly within range. We suggested Crouch weeks ago, and injury has meant you still have time to get him at a ridiculously cheap price.   

Outs: Sharrod Wellingham (West Coast), Michael Hurley (Essendon)
The season from hell continues for Wellingham, sustaining another serious ankle injury on the weekend. Maybe blue and gold aren't his colours. A score of just eight last week meant his price came tumbling down. Hurley seems equally as injury-prone and he certainly hasn’t turned out to be the Fantasy cash cow people were expecting.