Michael Hurley (footballer)
Hurley playing in 2009.
|Full name||Michael Hurley|
|Date of birth||1 June 1990|
|Original team(s)||Northern Knights (TAC Cup)|
|Draft||No. 5, 2008 national draft|
|Height / weight||193 cm / 92 kg|
|Position(s)||Defender / Forward|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2016.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Michael Hurley (born 1 June 1990) is a professional Australian rules footballer with the Essendon Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was recruited by the Essendon Football Club with the fifth overall selection in the 2008 national draft.
Hurley showed tremendous form throughout the TAC Cup, showing his all-round quality for the Northern Knights. He was named All-Australian in 2007 and backed it up with another selection after the 2008 AFL Under 18 Championships and was also selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in both seasons.
He made his debut against the Port Adelaide Power in round 1, 2009, and was nominated twice as the AFL Rising Star nominee, in round 20 of that season, and round 18 the following year, both times against St Kilda. After his match-winning four goal performance against Hawthorn in round 22, 2009, Leigh Matthews said, "Very few young talls have the physical maturity to match it with their older and stronger opponents, which is why the brilliant early form of young Bomber Michael Hurley is quite amazing."
The following four seasons saw Hurley's form fluctuate due to injury and the constant shuffling of his position in the team between both ends of the ground. He averaged 22 goals per season, and spent just as much time playing in the back line on some of the opposition's best key forwards, where his precise kicking and attacking flair out of the back half were noticeable on numerous occasions.
The 2014 season brought with it a permanent role for Hurley as a key defender, the position for which he was initially drafted. This newfound positional consistency allowed him to really begin to shine as a footballer. He played a career-high 21 games during the season and averaged 19 disposals, six marks and three rebound 50s for the year. Despite Essendon's poor performances in the 2015 season, Michael averaged 21 disposals, seven marks and six rebound 50s over 19 matches. He was awarded with his first All-Australian selection, and finished runner-up in the W.S. Crichton Medal.
Hurley, along with 33 other Essendon players, was found guilty of using a banned performance enhancing substance, thymosin beta-4, as part of Essendon's sports supplements program during the 2012 season. He and his team-mates were initially found not guilty in March 2015 by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal, but a guilty verdict was returned in January 2016 after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He was suspended for two years which, with backdating, ended in November 2016; as a result, he served approximately fourteen months of his suspension and missed the entire 2016 AFL season. During his suspension, he signed a five-year contract extension to stay with Essendon until the end of 2022. 
On 25 September 2009, Hurley was arrested after a drunken altercation with a taxi driver, after the driver demanded payment for the fare when Hurley asked him to stop at a fast food drivethrough. Hurley was later charged with multiple counts of assault; it is alleged that he punched the driver and kicked him in the groin.
- Statistics are correct to the end of the 2015 season.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- "Hurley becomes a Bomber". Essendon Football Club. 29 November 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- "VIC dominate draft". AFL Victoria website. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
- Anderson, Jon (2 April 2009). "Michael Hurley's neighbourhood". Melbourne Herald Sun. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- "Hurley wins rising star nomination". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- "Hurley sidelined with broken wrist". Essendon Football Club. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- "Hurley is the find of the season". Australian Football League. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- Twomey, Callum (March 31, 2015). "Thirty-four present and former Bombers cleared of all drug charges". AFL.com.au. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
- Travis King (12 January 2016). "Guilty: court bans the Essendon 34 for 2016". Australian Football League. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
- "Essendon player believed to be Michael Hurley arrested after altercation with taxi driver on Hoddle st". Herald Sun. Australia. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- "Essendon Bomber Michael Hurley on Assault Charge". Herald Sun. Australia. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "Michael Hurley statistics". AFL Tables. Retrieved 25 September 2012.