AFL

Out of Retirement and Heading North for Hodge

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GET HODGE TO THE LIONS?

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It’s something that no one really saw coming, after Luke Hodge announced he would be hanging up the boots.

The thought of coaching wasn’t really on Hodge’s radar until recently, with the Hawks great always thinking “you’ve got to be crazy to be a coach”. After developing a love for mentoring the next crop of AFL superstars, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan reached out soon after Hodge’s retirement to see if he’d be interested in heading north.

Hawthorn’s Alastair Clarkson admitted that the midfielder would leave the club “with our blessing” despite wanting him to remain a one-club player. “Luke has been an incredible servant of Hawthorn Football Club and we will support him and his family in the next step of their journey,” Clarkson told the clubs website.

“We respect Luke’s decision to take up this new opportunity… and understand the personal development opportunities it provides. [He and his family] will always be welcome at Hawthorn and remain an integral part of our family,” he added.

So, with Hodge looking to extend his career, how will he get to Brisbane?

He’s unable to leave as a free agent after signing a ‘form 40’ – a form associated with a player retiring from the game. Essentially that leaves him with two options:

  1. Hope Hawthorn and Brisbane come to a trade agreement (which seems likely)
  2. Nominate for the pre-season, where Brisbane would (likely) use pick one to secure him

PLAYER TRADE VALUE: mid-late draft pick – Brisbane have 41 and 73 currently.

Some fans have floated the idea of Hawthorn potentially including Josh Schache in a deal that would see Hodge get to the Lions. If this is the case, Hawthorn would probably have to give up a bit more than just Hodge.

POSSIBLE DESTINATIONS: It seems very likely that Hodge will end up at Brisbane to finish his career (take two) akin to the likes of Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis who moved on from Hawthorn. Any deal will be at least two years long, involving a coaching role beyond 2018 at the Lions. Hawthorn list manger Graham Wright told NAB AFL Trade Radio on the opening day of the trade period that the Hawks weren’t “after anything out of the ordinary”. Wright told Damian Barrett and Terry Wallace that “it did take us by surprise, we felt that Luke was comfortable to retire”.

Brisbane do have pick 41 from a trade last year, which is a round three pick. Their next pick as it stands currently in the draft is then 73, a round five selection. Hawthorn are likely to go after the pick 41, despite Wright saying, “it’s a difficult situation for us to put our hand out and ask for too much.” Whether Brisbane are willing to give it up that exact pick will be another story.

MOST LIKELY LANDING SPOT: Brisbane. Although Hawthorn and Brisbane are yet to nut out a deal, ultimately Hodge isn’t going anywhere else. It’s a deal that will probably fall into place towards the end of the trade period, given both clubs would be concentrating on other priorities. Hodge’s leadership qualities will be a great asset to the Lions younger brigade and who knows, may entice other players to consider a future with Brisbane as they rebuild and try to lock down young talent.

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