Four premierships, an All-Australian and a Peter Crimmins medal wouldn’t exist for Jordan Lewis had things turned like he expected in November 2004.
A highly-touted youngster with the Geelong Falcons, Lewis was selected with pick seven by the Hawks, following good mates Jarryd Roughead (pick two) and Lance Franklin (pick five) to the brown and gold, and the trio would go on to play key roles in the club’s most successful era.
But on the cusp of game 250, Lewis tells Aflplayers.com.au all indications suggested he would be picked by the 2004 premiers leading into draft day.
“Gary Buckenara came down for one meeting but initially I thought I was going to Port Adelaide because I had a few conversations with them. Chris Pelchan was their recruiting guy at the time and the night before the draft I came up to Melbourne and had a two-hour meeting with them and they took me through game scenarios and all that sort of stuff,” Lewis says.
“So I was convinced going back home that I would end up at Port Adelaide. Hawthorn had spoken to me once but never told me they were going to take me with an early pick.”
While Roughead and Franklin have received greater recognition for their on-field exploits, Lewis has arguably had a greater effect on the way Hawthorn has taken all before them on four occasions since he entered the competition.
The 30-year-old has played more matches than any player taken in the 2004 draft and shown remarkable durability across his career, featuring in no less than 19 games in each of his 11 seasons at the elite level.
Lewis is also the club’s current vice-captain and has skippered the club for most of the 2016 season in lieu of Luke Hodge. He won the Hawks best and fairest and was selected in the All-Australian team in a premiership year in 2014.
Now one of seven current Hawthorn players to feature in four flags, Lewis has come a long way from a kid at Warrnambool who just wanted to play local footy.
Reflecting on his early years with the sport, he has a couple of vivid memories.
“there was one kid who wasn’t interested so he was playing in the drop down cricket pitch which was covered in sand and was just making sandcastles” – Jordan Lewis
“My dad played at a club called Dennington and my first memories of that were going to training with him and just smelling the sherrins and every time I smell a sherrin it takes me back to that time when it was freezing cold at night and dad was out there training and I was just kicking the ball on the sidelines.
“When it came to my first game, I was staying at my cousin’s place the night before, I think I was about nine years old and they needed a fill-in for the under 14s. So we called up mum and she said ‘no’ which means ‘yes’ and the next morning we go out to Dennington and most of it is a bit of a blur.
“All I remember is there was one kid who wasn’t interested so he was playing in the drop down cricket pitch which was covered in sand and was just making sandcastles.
“The play was going on around him while he was making sandcastles and I remember one other guy with long hair who I was really scared of and that’s the extent of my first football memories.”
From a scared nine-year-old playing his first match to a competent footballer, Lewis has also faced some new challenges off the field with son Freddie entering his life a week before Grand Final day last year.
Although his AFL career will continue for a while yet, Lewis says having a young family means ensuring their future is secure for years to come.
“You’ve got other people to care for and you have to make decisions for someone else other than you, whether it’s financially or emotionally. It’s important that when football ends there’s not a blank page and you’ve got something else to roll into and take your mind off what transition looks like so you’re straight into the next thing.
“I’m doing a logistics course at the moment, so I’m 12 months into that which I thoroughly enjoy, I do some special comments and media as well so that might be a path I go down and I also do some coaching at Xavier – I have my level two coaching accreditation – so I’m keeping my options open.”
But for now, Lewis is focussed on captaining the side against the Lions – a team he remembers well from his second AFL outing in 2005.
“A memory from a match early in my career against Brisbane is, I think it was Martin Pyke, and I was just a kid coming in who was a little bit lippy and he said ‘come back to me when you’ve won four premierships son’ so I can’t wait to see him.”