Please note this player profile has been sourced from Wikipedia. A biography of this player written especially for australianfootball.com is in preparation.
Hayden Ballantyne (born 16 July 1987) is a professional Australian rules footballer, who currently plays with the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League, and previously won a Sandover Medal while playing with Peel Thunder.
Only 174 cm tall, Ballantyne started his career with Peel Thunder in the West Australian Football League in 2005 as a midfielder. In 2008, Ballantyne moved into the forward line with great success, kicking 75 goals to finish second in the Bernie Naylor Medal behind Subiaco's Brad Smith, and winning the Sandover Medal by 2 votes from Callum Chambers as the fairest and best player in the league.
Ballantyne's success in the WAFL attracted the attention of AFL recruiters, and at the age of 21, he was drafted by the Fremantle Football Club with its second round selection in the 2008 AFL National Draft (pick No. 21 overall). Ballantyne risked being excluded from the draft when he missed the Western Australian state screening session due to being overseas on a holiday. He was later tested individually and allowed to remain nominated for the draft. Ballantyne was a mature-age draftee at the age of 21, with most draftees no older than 18.
Ballantyne won the 2011 AFL Goal of the Year.
In his role as a small forward, Ballantyne became noted for his ability to pester and annoy his opponents, and to often win free kicks by encouraging overzealous retaliation from them. In April 2012, the Herald Sun newspaper named him as the league's "chief pest" for his success in this aspect of the game, in the week after champion Geelong full-back Matthew Scarlett had received a three-week suspension for such a retaliatory punch.