Devonport – Tasmania
A standout running defender who can play on a variety of opponents, Grant Birchall has been a prime mover in one of the most successful periods in Hawthorn’s history. Selection 14 in the 2005 NAB AFL Draft, the Tasmanian was a NAB Rising Star nominee in his debut season.
Quickly finding his niche across half back and providing great rebound and ball use, Birchall became a Premiership player at just 20 years of age in the 2008 triumph. Reaching 100 games in 2010, he helped the Hawks reach the a Preliminary Final in 2011, before recording a career best season in 2012. Named at half back in the All-Australian team and finishing third in the club Best and Fairest for the second straight year, Birchall’s skill propelled the Hawks to the minor Premiership and a Grand Final berth.
Two best afield performances early in 2013 kick-started Birchall and the Hawks’ season. A superb finals series was capped-off with a second a Premiership Medal, with Birchall one of the Hawks best in their win over Fremantle. He continued on his good form in 2014 playing in another premiership. It wasn’t to end there as Birchall become a member of the triple premiership club at Hawthorn as a member of the 2015 Grand Final win.
Grant’s 2016 season was further excellence as he averaged 22.9 disposals across his 24 appearances. His experience and continuing influence on the playing group is becoming more valuable as Hawthorn’s list becomes younger and less experienced. With the exiting of some experience, Grant holds a key role at the club as the triple-premiership player provides experience and education for those younger and less experienced. Sadly, Grant’s 2017 campaign was struck drastically short after he badly injured his knee, allowing him only the 5 games for the year. Despite his absence, his mentoring and leadership has still allowed him to impact the playing group. Birchall will now look to the 2018 season where he hopes to bounce back from injury and return to his excellent form.