Richmond Football Club’s Taylor Hunt speaks with Aaron Lord about his building course experience with TIV
If there is one man who knows how to get the best out of himself, it is Taylor Hunt. With the foresight of a seasoned veteran and the drive of a raging bull, the self labelled “quiet achiever” talks footy, his TIV building course and everything in between.
“No-one gives it to you. You have to take it.” It’s a simple, but powerful quote from Jack Nicholson in one of my favourite films, “The Departed.” More importantly, it is a profound statement that in my opinion best typifies the status of the career of Taylor Hunt.
Never a superstar, but always fiercely competitive and super reliable, Hunt’s career has hardly been gifted to him on a plate – on the contrary in fact – he has had to fight like a mongrel dog to win the respect of the football world throughout his 97-game career with Geelong and Richmond.
But as the boy from Beaumaris creeps towards the 100-game milestone which he thoroughly deserves, you get the feeling that it’s now or never for Hunt, and although he has faced individual challenges and adversity before, this time he means serious business.
He is a good bloke, and a bloody good footballer, but perhaps more impressive is his intrinsic understanding of where his career is at, and the steely resolve he exudes and demonstrates in going about his business.
If there was ever an example of sheer persistence and raw determination it comes in the form of Taylor Hunt.
To draw parallels from the Nicholson quote in “The Departed”, Hunt has never been given a free ride and has earned and deserved every single minute of game time throughout his career. He is an outstanding team man, durable, versatile and as loyal as they come. He is a coach’s dream in many respects.
But the flip side to Hunt’s character and professionalism is his absolute reluctance to ever speak out of school or step out of line. God forbid he ever put himself before his teammates or his football club – it simply won’t happen.
He is as selfless a person as I have met in football, and while this is just one of many endearing qualities he possesses, you sense that if Hunt’s career is going to reach the heights that the football world both wants and expects, the time has come for Hunt to write his own script and determine his own destiny. No one gives it to you. You have to take it.
The self-belief and awareness that Hunt reflects is certainly not restricted to the football field. Whilst the path to this realisation has been long and at times arduous, it is now something that clearly defines him, and has helped shape the man he is today.
“I used to be one of those guys who’d play golf and go out for coffee on my days off, and never really utilised my time effectively,” he says.
So much has changed for the durable midfielder however, as Hunt now automatically considers life after football in practically every decision he makes.
Already with a Certificate II in Landscaping under his belt, Hunt is an integral part of the Richmond Football Club’s group of players who are currently studying Carpentry and Building & Construction at the Trade Institute of Victoria (TIV).
“We’re all really happy with the professionalism and flexibility of the program at TIV, and we’ve got Big Bill (Trainer Bill Spencer) looking after us also,” Hunt smiles.
Much has been spoken about how well the Richmond model has worked at TIV, predominantly due to the flexibility of the program but more specifically as a result of the professionalism, character and commitment of the players involved.
Hunt is one of the senior leaders of the group, and it is clearly apparent that the days of golf rounds and drinking coffee all day people watching on days off are a thing of the past.
“I want to be fully qualified when I finish at TIV and get as much experience as possible so I can springboard into life after football,” he says with assurance.
“TIV is providing that springboard for us to really set ourselves up for life after football,” he adds.
Taylor Hunt getting real world practical building experience with TIV.
Hunt’s foresight is now a permanently imbedded component of his character, and he has developed this quality over time almost out of necessity, and from learning how to do things the hard way at two very proud football clubs.
“Both Richmond and Geelong are very professional clubs and pride themselves on the work they do with their players off the field in terms of a career after football,” Hunt says.
Hunt’s tenacity is demonstrated in other facets of his life also. Where most AFL players look to avoid the coach at all costs, Hunt proudly recounts the story of approaching Richmond coach Damian Hardwick about building him a deck for his home.
“I heard that Dimma (Damien Hardwick) was in the market for a new deck so I approached him and asked if there was an opportunity to help him out,” Hunt chuckles.
“I certainly won’t be over quoting him,” he laughs.
Hunt also wanted in at TIV, approaching Business Development Manager, Jason Pickles, about becoming a TIV Ambassador after seeing the work that teammates Jack Riewoldt and Sam Lloyd were doing around the traps.
“I saw Jack and Sam helping TIV out and I really wanted to get involved also,” he says.
Pickles was ‘blown away’ by Hunt’s passion and enthusiasm for the role, and took little time in assessing his proposal. “It’s just fantastic to see Taylor put his hand up and want to be involved as a TIV Ambassador,” Pickles says.
“It demonstrates what kind of a person he is, and shows how motivated and passionate he is about TIV and setting himself up for life after football.”
Needless to say, Hunt is now himself a TIV Ambassador.
Taylor Hunt gives new perspective and meaning to the phrase “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” It is indeed this determination and innate self-belief that I have no doubt will escalate him to another level in his football career, and there isn’t a player around who deserves it more.
No one gives it to you. You have to take it.
Author: Aaron Lord — TIV Business Development Officer
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