Hayden Young rewarding Fremantle Dockers’ faith after massive contract extension

Aaron KirbyThe West Australian
Hayden Young is beginning to show he is a big game performer.
Camera IconHayden Young is beginning to show he is a big game performer. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

It has not taken long for the Dockers to reap the benefits of making Hayden Young the most committed player at the club.

Young, originally from the Dandenong Stingrays before being drafted with pick seven by the Dockers in 2019, turned his back on returning home to Victoria in favour of putting pen to paper on a four-year extension on top of his current contract that will see him remain in purple until at least 2027.

The deal was signed and delivered on the eve of round 11, and since then, the 21-year-old has played his way into the top 10 interceptors across rounds nine to 13.

He has amassed 37 intercept possessions, the seventh highest in the competition and just 10 behind Hawthorn’s gun interceptor James Sicily.

The numbers look all the more impressive when you factor in Fremantle have taken on, and beaten, reigning premiers Melbourne at the MCG and ladder-leaders Brisbane in that time.

In fact, it is a trend Young has shown throughout season 2022, with the youngster beginning to prove his big-game credentials.

His numbers in key stats against top-eight opponents are notably higher.

He averages just over 20 disposals a game against bottom 10 clubs, but this lifts to more than 25 when faced with fellow finals contenders.

His uncontested possessions also rise with the lift in work rate, subsequently rising his marking numbers, while his intercept possessions increase by nearly 40 per cent.

Hayden Young has become an intercepting machine.
Camera IconHayden Young has become an intercepting machine. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

These numbers have also come at the perfect time, with Fremantle attempting to squeeze seven or eight talented defenders into the six-man backline.

Young’s clutch-game ability will also get his name in front of the selectors’ eyes as the Dockers look set to return to finals for the first time since 2015, when they finished as minor premiers.

But they have plenty of competition on the run home to secure their top-four place playing a resurgent Carlton in Melbourne, Richmond at Marvel and a prime-time blockbuster against the reigning premiers at Optus Stadium.

Young will get the chance to prove whether his form is a trend, or the platform to guide Fremantle to their maiden flag.

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