'I Was Drunk My First 2 Years' - Incredibly Honest Interview With AFL Star Pearce Hanley

'I Was Drunk My First 2 Years' - Incredibly Honest Interview With AFL Star Pearce Hanley

The Irish have a reputation down under for enjoying a few drinks after a hard days work, but few are working as professional sportsmen with lucrative contracts.

Former Mayo footballer Pearce Hanley swapped GAA for Aussie Rules in 2007, signing on with AFL team Brisbane Lions. He was 19 at the time and struggled to abandon a student lifestyle he had become accustomed to.

Hanley told AFL Footy Feed on Friday, 'I think I was drunk my first two years.'

He said the turning point was around the three-year mark of his move, and has since gone on to emulate the more successful Irish imports to Aussie Rules such as Jim Stynes and Tadgh Kennelly.

I still had a great time and it's made me who I am now. My professionalism has got a lot better and I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment and I've definitely pulled my head in.

The Lions star is now 26 and is preparing for his 100th appearance for the Lions against the Sydney Swans on Saturday. At one point he had feared his career was heading in the wrong direction unless he copped himself on:


I got in a bit of strife and thought I was in a bit of trouble. The club were very good to stand by me.

I thought I wasn't going to be given another contract and I thought I was going to be sent home. I remember I got a bit emotional in front of the boys and I think from there I turned my year around.

The next pre-season I knuckled down and from there my game has got better and better and I've turned into the player I am today.

It would seem he's his own harshest critic but there's no doubting he has improved remarkably over the last couple of years. He well able to get even better over the next couple too.


Barry Arnold

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