Hayden Ballantyne says he won’t change niggling tactics
Fremantle’s serial niggler Hayden Ballantyne has vowed to keep “sticking it” to opposition players, especially those from Melbourne sides.
And coach Ross Lyon has backed the midfielder, admitting he used to send St Kilda players out to rough him up.
The hard-nosed small man came under intense scrutiny after a fiery Round 1 clash against Geelong.
Ballantyne copped a two-game suspension from the AFL’s match review panel for a behind-the-play hit on Paul Chapman.
He was on the receiving end later in the same match, copping a left jab from Matthew Scarlett that cost the Cats champion three games.
“I cross the line to win footy and whatever I have to do to win footy games I’m going to do,” Ballantyne said.
“I guess you could call it white-line fever.”
Ballantyne conceded Lyon had warned him to stop milking free kicks.
“I had a chat to Ross on the oval the other day and he said the AFL is cracking down on staging (for free kicks) and I probably need to tone that down a bit,” he told Channel 10.
Ballantyne was otherwise unapologetic about his style of play.
“I only care about what’s going on on the west coast, I don’t really care about how people see me on the east coast,” he said.
“I’m going to keep sticking it to them.”
Lyon defended Ballantyne, praising his talent.
“He gets buffeted a lot off the ball because he’s very talented and he’s small and he’s hittable,” Lyon said.
“But it’s that milking that we’ve put on the agenda. He doesn’t want to be remembered for that.
“What he wants to be remembered for is his great ball-winning and pace and goalkicking and enthusiasm.
“So out of the whole package, if that’s all he needs to control, we’re really happy with Hayden. He’s mentally tough. He’s really resilient.”