Before his impending jetsetting across the globe, Yuma Hemphill had unfinished business to take care of with Williamstown CYMS in the Victorian Amateur Football Association Premier C this season.
The star onballer was not content with merely winning the league best-and-fairest in 2018, he wanted more, much more.
Only a promotion and premiership double could soothe the CYs pain of 2018, when they finished on top of the ladder, only to bow out of the finals in straight sets with two losses by less than a kick.
“Last year was pretty devastating,” Hemphill said. “That sort of motivated us for this year.”
First and foremost, Hemphill wanted team success at Williamstown CYMS.
The CYs delivered this year, going through the regular season undefeated en route to the minor premiership, winning the first final to earn promotion and then beating Ajax by 18 points in a hard-fought grand final.
The cherry on the top for Hemphill was another league best-and-fairest.
“To be recognised by the umpires is a pretty nice feeling,” he said. “It was a bit of a surprise again this year, but there must be something the umpires really like with the way I play.”
Hemphill is one of the smaller players in Williamstown CYMS’ midfield, but he is one of the most durable.
The 25-year-old has in the past suffered concussions from his unwavering attack on the ball, but the past two and a half years he has been injury-free.
The continuity in his game has allowed to showcase all of his strengths and he is now recognised as the top player in Premier C.
“I haven’t missed a game in over two and a half years now,” Hemphill said. “There is an element of luck, but I also make sure I do a strong pre-season and keep myself fit so that I’m good to go when the games come around.
“I just worked on consistency and spending all the time I’m on the ground in the midfield, which means you’re near the ball, which tends to help a little bit as well [when umpires are casting votes].”
While Hemphill might be self-effacing, he is not afraid to show his love for Williamstown CYMS and the suburb he represents.
“Williamstown is where I grew up, where I played my junior footy and it was where I was working up until recently,” he said.
“It is a big part of my life, so it’s always an honour each week to go out and play with my mates.”
Hemphill praised the influence of ruckmen Dylan Jones and Nick Blackney in getting him the ball.
He believes his individual honour had a lot to do with the work his fellow midfielders did off the ball to afford him space.
“I don’t always get the heavy tag because of the players in the midfield alongside me,” Hemphill said. “It helps to have a really good ruckmen too.”
Hemphill will now embark on a new challenge in his life, moving to Toronto, Canada, to continue his work as an osteopath.
The Newport resident will be linking up with AFL Ontario team Toronto Eagles next season.