West Coast ruckman Tom Hickey joined the AFL Players’ Association’s Instagram account for a live chat, including a question and answer section with fans. Here’s a breakdown of the best parts of the chat with AFLPA regional manager Bobby Quiney.
Acclimatising to the hubs
We trained Monday morning and then went through all the COVID protocols of three buses to the airport, got straight on the plane and then shot over. I brought my wife (Chloe) and kid (Lou) along with me and they spent the night and now they’re back in Brisbane because that’s where we’re from. The kid got to see his grandparents and it’s been great for them and now we’re in this resort at the RACV Royal Pines.
Rugby League roots and playing state level Volleyball
I was no good at it (Rugby League). My Dad played with Wally Lewis and that crew back in the 80s and so I idolised him and loved it growing up. I played every sport at school and played volleyball. I was tall and coordinate so AFL Queensland asked if I wanted to try out for the local rep team and I ended up doing that and played for Morningside for two years and was lucky enough to get drafted. I started playing when I was 18 and was ended up at the Gold Coast at the end of 2010.
His time at the Suns
You can only look back on it with rose-coloured glasses. You come in at 18 and don’t know anything else. If you follow footy most guys in their draft year stay pretty close and for us we had about 15 guys drafted at the same time so it was fun because we were all the same age and we were all learning. We were beaten pretty hard but it was a lot more about learning the game. I think if a lot of the boys stayed there things could have been different and we could’ve seen a bit more success like GWS but I think they had the power of hindsight (in terms of recruiting). I really enjoyed my time at the Gold Coast.
The ‘Crossword Club’
We (St Kilda) had the crossy crew but a lot of my friends (from St Kilda) have been traded now or moved on so there’s not too many left. Josh Bruce, Jack Sinclair, Nathan Brown and I would sit in the cafe every morning and do the crossword. We only did the Fairfax crosswords.
The process of being traded to West Coast
At the time Scott Lycett was a free-agent at the time and the Saints came out in the media and said they were pursuing him. I had a chat to Simon Lethlean and he said that they’d put a contract in front of Scott and the club thought it was reasonable so they would understand if I didn’t want to play second-fiddle to him and wanted to look elsewhere. They needed to get draft picks in to get Dan Hannebery through the door. I think they through a few names on the wall and mine stuck. I was lucky to have a club like West Coast who were interested. It was pretty amicable – I loved my time at the Saints and have no hard feelings. I got offered at three years at West Coast and it was an opportunity… we’ve loved our time here. I played finals last year and got to play 20 games. I pinch myself with footy and how lucky I’ve been and how fortuitous. I think a lot of that is because I’ve always said yes.
Tom’s focus on Sustainability
I finished a carpentry apprenticeship when I was in Melbourne so I have that under my belt but I want to get into the sustainability side of things whether it be solar panels or something to help the environment – it’s my passion outside of football.
My wife (Chloe) is really into (sustainability) and we’ve done a permaculture course and try minimise the plastic we use. We want to raise Lou to love nature – we go on bushwalks and every holiday we go on is somewhere untouched. It’s been something I’ve fallen into because my wife loves it so much and I’ve become really passionate about as well.