On the eve of his 100th game, Hamish Hartlett has revealed he questioned whether was physically up to playing football at the elite level.
Hartlett has endured an horrific number of injuries that had, until Ken Hinkley and Darren Burgess joined forces in 2013, restricted the midfielder to just 46 games in four years.
He has only missed five games since Hinkley’s arrival at the club and reaches his milestone match against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night.
“After my second year, I only played four games and had a lot of soft tissue injuries and it probably dawned on me a couple of times that maybe I physically can’t stand AFL football, the training and the games. It ran through my mind a couple of times.” – Hamish hartlett
“Three shoulder reconstructions. I would have had probably seven or eight different hamstring strains or tears, I tore my quad three times in a row in my second year, glandular fever … they are the ones off the top of my head but then there’s little things that keep you out for a week or two and a few silly suspensions and they all add up,” Hartlett said.
“After my second year, I only played four games and had a lot of soft tissue injuries and it probably dawned on me a couple of times that maybe I physically can’t stand AFL football, the training and the games. It ran through my mind a couple of times.”
The 24-year-old also said how far he’d developed as an athlete since arriving at the Power with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft.
Hinkley’s arrival at Alberton in 2013 marked a new beginning at the club and the majority of the playing group embraced the opportunity to reform.
Hartlett was one such player whose approach to the game has reached a new level of professionalism in recent years.
Unsurprisingly, that shift saw Hartlett’s output and physical resilience also lift.
“You realise how far away from it you really were as a professional athlete … as a group, as a whole, there are certainly things we are doing now that are significantly different to what we were doing back then,” he said.
“You look back and think ‘yeah, we were probably getting what we deserved’ because we were that far away from being a professional group.
“And individually I was miles away from being a professional footballer. I have certainly tidied up a lot of things on the field and off the field between then and now.
“I wasn’t going out of my way to make myself better. It was probably my fourth or fifth year, which I started to do that and funnily enough things started to turn.”