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Honeychurch name starting to stick

James Brosnan  July 10, 2013 5:19 PM

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Mitchell Honeychurch

I did everything in my power to get my fitness base up and to try to get my form up as much as possible
IF HIS surname hadn’t already caught the attention of AFL recruiters, a standout NAB AFL Under 18 Championships from Vic Metro’s Mitchell Honeychurch certainly did.

The small midfielder defied injury setbacks earlier this season to be named Metro’s most valuable player and win All Australian honours.

After breaking his left wrist (scaphoid) during the preseason, Honeychurch returned to the Eastern Ranges for their TAC Cup season opener, only to suffer a similar injury setback breaking his right radius (lower arm).

Honeychurch played only one and a half games for the Ranges before the opening of the Championships and felt uncertain that an opportunity in the strong Metro line-up would arise.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to make the side initially because I didn’t play much footy for the Ranges before the first match against Queensland,” he said.

“To have the break in round one was devastating but I did everything in my power to get my fitness base up and to try to get my form up as much as possible in the games prior to the Championships.

“To have eight weeks out and to come back and play six matches I’m feeling pretty good, so I’m stoked.”

The aggressive midfielder was consistent across the championships averaging 24.8 disposals (11.5 contested) and 5.2 tackles in providing inspiration for his team.

Honeychurch, who stands at 175cm, models his game on Western Bulldogs star, Luke Dahlhaus.

“He plays the same sort of role as me and is a similar height. His form has been a bit down this year but he has been a great inspiration just watching him,” Honeychurch said.

“I’m only a small fella so I just have to keep competing to keep getting my name out there – keep tackling and doing the one percenters.”

Eastern Ranges Regional Manager, Anthony Parkin believes Honeychurch’s thirst for hard work is unrivalled at the Ranges.

“He is a fantastic young man and one of the hardest working players I have seen come through,” Parkin said.

“I have never seen anyone throw themselves into their rehab more than he did. He is a running machine. He got himself super fit and super strong and its enabled him to play at a level where AFL clubs have to consider him.”

Parkin believes that, along with top draft prospect Tom Boyd, Honeychurch is one of the leaders of the Ranges and would be an asset to an AFL club.

“Being 175cm has had its issues in the past, but what he showed in his effort and competitiveness through the Championships will enable him to play the level above,” Parkin said.

“I’m hoping that like Jarryd Blair, Dayne Zorko or Hayden Ballantyne, that Mitch gets that opportunity.

“I think someone will take him based on what they have seen because he plays the game in the right spirit and those types can be pretty hard to find.”