Leaders Hocking and Seaton recognised by teammates for selfless contributions to the club
We spoke with retiring Southern Saints co-captain Frankie Hocking and Zebras leadership group member Anthony Seaton about what it means to them to receive the Sainter of the Year and Zeal Player of the Year awards.
Frankie Hocking is chaired off the ground in her final game. Photo by Tony Vella
Both Hocking and Seaton are deserving winners of the player-voted awards which recognise selflessness, consistent effort and great teamwork.
For Frankie Hocking, her last hurrah at VFLW level was a rollercoaster, as she played six matches and rejoined the side late in the season after a long-term injury layoff.
The veteran’s leadership and guidance gave her younger teammates the support they needed to excel as they charged towards a semi-final appearance, and she remains exceptionally humble when discussing her latest achievement.
Hocking at the Saints BnF. Photo Tony Vella
“It was something that came as a complete shock for many reasons,” she said.
“One, there’s so many worthwhile people in our team that deserve recognition themselves, and the second reason being I spent the majority of the time on the sidelines through injury.”
“It’s nice to be acknowledged for the stuff you do off the field as well as what you do on-field.”
The Southern Saints had a unique leadership program this year with Deanna Joliffe, Tara Bohanna and Hocking sharing co-captaincy duties.
Hocking said it was an “honour” being part of the extended leadership group and praised the camaraderie between the three captains.
“We used our individual skill sets to bring us all together as one team and it’s something I was really proud to be a part of,” she said.
“For me with regards to being injured, having something to focus on rather than going through the rigmarole of rehab was a nice thing as you have that passion to drive the team forward and keep yourself entertained and motivated in that regard.”
Now in retirement at 32, Hocking says it’s the right time for her to step aside and is impressed by some of the youngsters stepping up for the Southern Saints.
“There’s some talented girls coming through from the NAB League that we picked up in 2021 and were training with us, they’re going to grow this team and I’ll be their number one supporter on the sidelines,” she said.
In terms of what the future holds, Hocking is still working through her options after recently relocating to Geelong but says she still “loves the game” and wants to stay involved.
“I do have that passion to keep learning and going down the coaching road is something I’m really interested in doing,” she said.
“I think a little bit of local footy will be on the cards and hopefully I’ll find a club that will allow me to do a bit of coaching and not destroying my body like VFL level does with all the extra effort and commitment.”
Anthony Seaton. Photo AFL Media
Like Hocking, Zebras leadership group member Anthony Seaton was humble and grateful when discussing his Zeal Player of the Year award.
“I was really flattered to be recognised like that, I had a bit of a focus on building relationships with the new guys at the start of the year and I was really honoured to get that (award) from them.”
2021 was a significant year in Seaton’s evolution as both a player and as a leader.
Moving into a new backline role, Seaton was “pretty nervous” but felt more confident as the season went on, with the rebounding defender averaging 11 possessions in his 8 appearances this season.
“I felt pretty good about my season and got used to being a backman in that role and am just looking forward to improving again next year,” he said.
He credited Zebras Senior Assistant Coach Mark Williams for helping him develop the skills required to be an effective leader.
“It was a nice change working with Wilbur (Mark Williams), the leadership coach there,” he said.
“We checked in every two weeks and talked about what areas needed improvement and how I was acting on the field and acting at training.”
“During the year I felt like I wasn’t talking as much in games, so I put a little bit more emphasis on being vocal and getting around to everyone.”
Seaton is gearing up for an exciting 2022 VFL season and says he wants to come back to pre-season training “a little more athletic.”
“I know how to use my body now so I don’t need to be quite as heavy, so my pre-season will be focused more around running and probably less around weights,” he said.
And if his comments about Senior Coach Jake Batchelor devising an intense pre-season training program are correct, the Zebras should be well-placed to rise up the ladder next year.
“Batch made it sound like this pre-season might be a bit harder than what we had last year,” he said.
“I got a bit of a sense in the last meeting we had that he’s had his practise season, we’ve all had our practise seasons now so it might be time to amp things up and make sure everyone comes back fit and firing.”
Anthony Seaton evades Collingwood tacklers. Photo by AFL Media
Written by Jack Bennett - Sandringham Football Club Media