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At home with the Hanleys

Though Pearce Hanley grew up in Ireland, with no idea what AFL was for most of his childhood, it’s not altogether surprising that he’s ended up a footballer.

“If you ever asked Pearce what he was going to be, he’d say ‘a footballer’” – Hanley’s mother, Natalie

Speaking to Channel 7’s #Discovered team ahead of Round 19, Hanley’s mother Natalie explained that her son had always planned to be an athlete.

“If you ever asked Pearce when he was five, six, seven what he was going to be, he’d say ‘I’m going to be a footballer’.”

Hanley would shake off suggestions that he needed a Plan B in the same way he now shakes off opposition tacklers. And though he’s a long way from Ballaghaderreen in County Mayo, Ireland, where he first decided to pursue a career as a gaelic footballer, in a roundabout sort of way, he’s achieved his dream – and his mum couldn’t be prouder.

“We miss him, it’d be nice if he was closer to home, but he’s following his dream, and that’s the important thing.”

Pearce Hanley is one of 14 players connected to Ireland on the AFL Players’ Multicultural Map – click here to see the others.